5-star prospect Brandon Ingram will play for Duke next season


Brandon Ingram will join a Duke squad that’s improved its standing tremendously in the offseason. (USATSI)

Five-star power forward Brandon Ingram, who donned a tuxedo for the occasion, committed to Duke on Monday afternoon, giving Mike Krzyzewski the No. 1 recruiting class for 2015.

To be more specific: Duke just landed a player that ranks across all major recruiting sites as one of the five best freshman prospects heading into the 2015-16 season.

As for Duke now being in the catbird seat, the composite ranking comes via CBSSports.com’s sister site, 247 Sports, which ranks Ingram’s inclusion to Duke next season as the coup to put the Blue Devils — reigning national champions of the sport — over the top. Duke now has the No. 1 class, surpassing Kentucky, LSU and Arizona.

This is a stinger for North Carolina fans. Ingram, whose list entering the day also included UNC, Kansas, Kentucky, UCLA and NC State, became the rare instance of a Kinston High product opting to go with Duke over the Tar Heels. Kinston won a fourth straight state title this past winter; Ingram was the guiding force.

At 6-foot-8, 200 pounds, Ingram is the ideal physical — but not identical — piece to step in for the outgoing Justise Winslow. Ingram is not at Winslow’s level from a defensive and muscular standpoint. But like Winslow, he’s a talented wing with an ability to shoot — and his length is very impressive. He’ll be an impact player almost immediately, and likely give more offensively than Winslow did last season.

It’s been one amazing run over the past few months for Krzyzewski. He won his 1,000th game back in January. Then he managed to streak to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. His team won the NCAAs, getting K his fifth title, by beating No. 1 Wisconsin in a great title game behind the magnificent play of freshmen Tyus Jones and Grayson Allen.

And then Coach K got to reap the benefits of a late-deciding group of elite prospects as Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Winslow left for the NBA. They’ll be selected in the first round. This only helped Krzyzewski make up ground for his 2015 class, if he needed to in the first place.

Plus: Allen’s coming back. And last week, Duke landed its future point guard in Derryck Thornton. And now the Ingram commitment. This gives Duke the top recruiting class in the nation for the second straight season. It’s possible to make the argument Krzyzewski — who by the way is still the coach of Team USA — has never had it going more for himself in a professional sense than right here, right now.

With Ingram in the fold, Duke will move into our offseason/preseason top 10.


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