Before Michael Jordan was making Bryon Russell fall with a killer crossover and draining the go ahead jumper to win his sixth NBA title with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan was a skinny, determined athlete dominating the competition at Laney High (Wilmington, N.C.).
Before Adrian Peterson was trucking opposing defenses and racking up 2,097 yards in a single season for the Minnesota Vikings he was shining bright under the Friday night lights at Palestine High (Palestine, Texas), averaging 12 yards a carry and scoring 32 touchdowns.
Before any athlete can become legendary they have to lay their foundation in the high school ranks.
Each week I’ll chat with a high-profile athlete’s former coach, mentor, family member, etc., and reminisce about their high school playing days; everything from the greatest moment to the wackiest story.
Today I caught up with No. 2 NBA Draft pick Brandon Ingram’s high school coach at Kinston (Kinston, N.C.) Perry Tyndall.
Jason Jordan: What’s your best memory of Brandon on the court in high school?
Perry Tyndall: Well, these go hand-in-hand; both state championships his junior and senior years he came out and scored 23 points in the second half to lead us to the state title and was named MVP of both games. He finished with a double-double after scoring single digits in the first half. He won four-straight state titles in high school.
JJ: What’s your best memory of Brandon away from the court?
PT: I don’t have just one moment; I would say the numerous times that he made his teammates feel special and very much tied in to our goal. He would just will those kids to play to their potential and even beyond. I’m talking even the 14th and 15th players on the bench, Brandon always included everybody. The other thing I’d say is the moments when he’d text his thoughts and feelings about things. He’s a guy who really knows that life is bigger than just basketball. I respect that about him.
JJ: Did you always know that Brandon would be at this level?
PT: I don’t think anyone can necessarily say that he’d be a No. 1 or No. 2 pick. I knew he’d be a great player. Very early you knew he was a unique talent and then he started to expand his game and it became more obvious that he would be able to play this game for a while.
JJ: What’s something fans would be surprised to know about Brandon?
PT: He’s quiet, but he’s got a great sense of humor and he likes to joke around too. Also, he’s really into fashion and he’s embraced some artistic things too. He also grew up loving fishing with his grandmother.
JJ: Is Brandon the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year?
PT: Yes! I say that for a lot of different reasons, but the biggest is that he’ll impact the game in a lot of different ways. He’ll really embrace doing whatever he can to help the team win and the needs are tailor-made for him because he can really stretch the defense because of his shooting ability. When you surround him with talented players and you have to pick your poison he’s gonna shine even more.
Here’s how Brandon Ingram got it done in HS.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY