May 13, 2014

Tobacco Road Battle

Kinston, North Carolina has been kind to the North Carolina basketball program over the years. The heavily coveted Jerry Stackhouse, who graced the covers of Street & Smith magazine chose to play his basketball in Chapel Hill over offers from Duke and many of the nation's elite.

Then Reggie Bullock, the next big-time recruit from the area, also chose UNC to play his collegiate basketball. Both went on to the NBA.

Now, Brandon Ingram is king of the courts in Kinston, and his recruitment is at an elite high major level. THI spoke with the versatile and skilled 6-8 WF about the status of his recruitment. And like the Kinston kids of the past - North Carolina is heavily involved in the recruitment.

"He loves my game," Ingram said of Roy Williams. "He loves me and he wants me to join the Tar Heel family. He said that I am welcome any time I want."

Ingram is also being pursued by other top programs as well, many of them ACC schools and some of them outside of his immediate region.

"Well I haven't narrowed down a top five or ten or anything. But right now, I'm interested in all contact such as Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, Louisville, Clemson, VCU, NC State and Florida.

There are many informed sources who feel that North Carolina, Duke and NC State are the three most likely destinations for the slender but highly skilled forward from eastern North Carolina. And he wouldn't confirm or deny. But he did offer his feelings on Duke versus Carolina.

"Carolina and Duke go hand in hand but you can never go wrong with either one," he said. "I mean both are great coaches and bringing it a great recruiting class."

The Blue Devils, specifically, Mike Krzyzewski, recently stepped up and offered the 2015 prospect during an in-home visit with Ingram and his family. Ingram implied that it made an impact on him, but also that he felt that he had put in the necessary work to earn it.

"It felt pretty good," said Ingram. "I felt like it was deserved and I put in a lot of work in and my drive for the game just helps me out a lot. They (Duke) loves the way that I play and my character. As you see, they don't just offer anybody. Duke is a great school. I love the fans and everything about it. I hope to make an official soon," he said.

Despite the recent offer from the Blue Devils, the Tar Heels have been engaged with the combo-forward for a much longer time and he's visited the UNC campus about a dozen times over the past two years.

"Coach Williams is a great man and he he will be there to guide me and I know that I can always come back and be part of the tradition. (Williams) knows that I am taking my time with my decision and he hasn't pressured me. He just says that they want me, they love me and they want me to be a part of the family."

Ingram is running with Stackhouse Elite this spring and summer on the Adidas circuit and he will return to Kinston next season for his final year of high school basketball.

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