SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The contrast was circus like. On one side of the backcourt for Kinston, N.C., was the 5-5 Jeremiah Fields and on the other was Brandon Ingram, a gangly 6-9 and 180 pounds.
While Ingram’s height made him look out of place, he more than has the handle to carry off the role of point-forward, or whatever you want to call it.
Ingram led Kinston with 25 points and seven rebounds in a 56-54 defeat of Trenton (N.J.) Catholic at the Hoophall Classic on Saturday. As impressive as those numbers were, he also was the main player to handle Trenton Catholic’s pressure, using a slick handle, plenty of no-look passes for four assists and even a no-look, turn-around jumper.
“He does a little bit of everything,” Kinston coach Perry Tyndall said. “If he gets a mismatch, he can go inside. But you can see he handles the ball so well. The pressure, he sees over and he has great court vision. Everybody talks about his shooting, but he’s a great point guard option for us. He put us on his back for a little while there.”
Ingram started slowly, content to get his teammates involved and had nine points in the first half. But in the second half, he began to take it inside more and in one stretch, scoring nine consecutive points, including that turnaround shot.
“That’s something I’ve seen Durant do,” Ingram said.
Durant, as in Kevin Durant, his favorite player and someone who had a similar game in high school.
“I don’t like to make that comparison because it’s silly at this point,” Tyndall said. “But, the way he handles the rock and his shooting. … He’s a rangy guy and his best days are ahead of him.”
Ingram, who has not announced his college choice and is listed as the No. 18 player in the 2015 class according to 247Sports Composite ranking, says college coaches have talked to him about using his passing skills, at least until he can bulk up a bit.
“I’ve been talking to a lot of coaches and they see me as a point forward,” Ingram said. “It’s something I’ve really worked on. I played the point when I was younger and shorter, and when I got taller, I moved to other positions, but it was always something I was comfortable doing. Passing is just something very underrated that I like to work on a lot.”