The NBA Draft is now just days away, and one player who is certain to be a top pick --- and future NBA star --- is Duke's Brandon Ingram. The 6'11 forward is projected by virtually every draft prognosticator --- including this one --- to go no later than No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers and could sneak to Philadelphia at the top spot.
Ingram is a budding star, and a guy who many have compared favorably to Kevin Durant, thanks to his size (6'11) and skill-set (he hit 80 three-pointers this season).
But when he was asked on ESPN Radio Wednesday morning if Durant is the player he most closely resembles, Ingram said yes, but he actually mostly modeled his game after someone else.
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Who is that player? The answer might surprise you:
"I try to compare myself to Kevin Durant a lot," Ingram said. "Of course he's far beyond my years (in ages and experience). Even a guy named George Gervin, I look at his highlights a lot."
"In high school, my high school coach told me about him (Gervin) a lot and my dad told me about him a lot, and that inspired me to look at a lot of his highlights and I saw a lot of him in me."
Woah! George Gervin! I can't lie, if you'd given me 100 guesses on the question, "who does Brandon Ingram model his game after" I don't think I would have used a single one of those guesses to say "George Gervin."
At the same time, while the answer is surprising, it also shows us something else altogether about Ingram: In addition to his immense talent, he clearly has an appreciation for the history of basketball. Considering that Gervin retired from the NBA in 1986, and Ingram wasn't born until 1997 (how old are we?) it's incredible that he would even know the name "George Gervin" let alone go out of his way to study him.
Still, in terms of actual people to model your game after, Ingram could do a lot worse than "The Ice Man." In addition to the fact that they have very similar body types (Gervin played at just 185 lbs., despite standing 6'7), Gervin was a straight stud on the court, winning four NBA scoring championships during his career.
Of course if Ingram is going to compare himself to Gervin, it also raises one further interesting question: Does Ingram already have Gervin's finger roll in his arsenal?
ESPN asked, and Ingram didn't hesitate.
"Most definitely," he said with a laugh.