The 2016 draft is nearly upon us and on June 23 at the Barclays Center in New York, the next batch of rookies will be welcomed into the NBA.
Popular consensus suggests that Brandon Ingram and Ben Simmons are in a straight race for the number one slot, with the likes of Dragan Bender, Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray in a bracket below them.
After that, however, there is quite a significant drop off in quality. Only Ingram and Simmons have been touted as to having superstar potential, and caveats have been attached to both of those claims as well.
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Ingram will need to grow into his body, Simmons will need to develop a three-point shot; both men don't represent the polished product Karl-Anthony Towns did last year.
Still, what do we really know about Brandon Ingram? Chances are the Duke forward is going to end up with the Philadelphia 76ers or the L.A. Lakers, so here is five things you might not have known about the 18-year-old to help you get to know him a little better.
He models himself after Kevin Durant
In August 2014, Brandon Ingram told DraftExpress at the Under Armour Elite 24 in New York that he models his game after Austin Daye, Tayshaun Prince and, “Kevin Durant, of course.”
In the 18 months since that admission, Ingram has grown two inches to the same heigh as KD, ascended to the fourth-ranked player in the 2015 recruiting class, helped lead a distinctly average Duke team to the Sweet 16 and cemented himself as the potential No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.
Standing just under 6'10" with the standing reach of an NBA center, an excellent handle, the fluidity of a guard and the stroke of a sharpshooter, the Durant comparisons look less and less ludicrous.
The Team USA coach has his eye on him
Mike Krzyzewski will be leading Team USA to Rio de Janiero in the summer in search of a gold medal at the Olympics, but during a recent visit to see Ingram work out, he revealed to the freshmen that he has been keeping a keen eye on his progress.
Ingram relayed the encounter through The Players Tribune:
“You’ve got a good Instagram."
Huh? I’m thinking it’s some kind of joke. Or maybe that I posted something I shouldn’t have?
“Tell me what this means to you,” he said, pointing to a quote I had written as a caption for a photo.
The quote was, “Stay hungry and stay humble.”
Krzyzewski may have been lurking on social media, but it's very doubtful he'll be sliding into any DMs.
Ingram has worked out with his 'unc' Jerry Stackhouse
The North Carolina-native also told The Players Tribune of how he has worked out with Toronto Raptors assistant coach and two-time All-Star Jerry Stackhouse.
According to Ingram, the former guard - who coincidentally started his career with the Sixers, who have the number one pick this year - gave him some rough treatment to prepare for life in the NBA.
"The drill always started out normal enough. Jump-stop. A little contact. Finish.
"But after a few times, Unc would start really playing defence. Like, NBA defense. He’d grab my forearm really hard or stick an elbow into my ribs.
"Then I’d come back the next time swinging my wiry elbows and he’d duck.
"'Watch it with the elbows!'
"We’d laugh. I loved those drills. I could feel myself getting tougher."
Duke has produced plenty of talent lately
In the past few years, several high draft picks have come from Duke university and have enjoyed great success, sure to inspire Ingram.
Elton Brand went to Chicago number one in 1999 and Kyrie Irving is the most recent number one pick out of Duke when he landed with the Cavaliers in 2011, who just hit the game-clinching shot in game seven of the NBA Finals.
Jahlil Okafor joined the Philadelphia 76ers as the third overall pick just last year, but Mike Dunleavy, Luol Deng, Austin Rivers, Grant Hill, Jabari Parker and Justise Winslow are other big names who have been selected from Duke in the top ten picks.
Ingram has a massive chance to be the first number one Duke pick since Irving making him the fourth man to carry that honour.
Simmons and Ingram duelled at the 2015 McDonald's All-American Boys Game
Some of the best high-school prospects battle it out in the 2015 McDonald's All-American Boys Game which is seen as an indicator for the next great prospects.
On this occasion, neither man took the game by the scruff of the neck as Cheik Diallo took the game-MVP award off the back of 18 points.
Ingram, playing for the east side against Simmons in the west - which, ironically, will probably be the opposite of the conferences they wind up in - managed 15 points in 18 minutes.
When will be the next time Ingram and Simmons meet?