Inside a gymnasium in Kinston, N.C., Brandon Ingram stepped to a microphone flanked by two basketballs sitting on platforms. Ingram, one of the nation’s top basketball recruits, was there in a crowded gymnasium, in a small-town in the eastern part of the state, ready to announce his college decision.
He decided to stay close to home.
Ingram, rated as the nation’s No. 3 overall recruit by Rivals.com, will attend Duke, choosing the defending NCAA champions over a list of schools that also included Kansas and in-state schools North Carolina and North Carolina State.
For Kansas coach Bill Self, it was the latest top target to opt to go elsewhere. With his North Carolina roots, it was perhaps a long shot to convince Ingram to leave his home state. But after a long recruitment process, Self conducted a home visit with Ingram and his family earlier this month, and the 6-foot-8 small forward kept the Jayhawks on his list until the end.
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“Today I created my own path,” Ingram said, during a brief televised interview after his announcement. “I wanted to fulfill my dream.”
For KU, the attention now turns to the impending decisions by power forward Cheick Diallo, a native of Mali who played his high school basketball in Long Island, N.Y., and swingman Jaylen Brown of Marietta, Ga.
Diallo, who is ranked as Rivals’ No. 5 overall recruit, is expected to make an announcement this week, according to reports. He is still considering Kentucky, St. John’s, Iowa State and Pitt, in addition to Kansas. Brown, meanwhile, is rated as Rivals’ No. 2 overall recruit. His final list — which has been fluid and subject to change — includes Cal, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina, according to Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels.