Brandon Ingram Declared For The Draft And Said Goodbye To Duke In A Heartfelt Letter

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The more cynical among us might view the current one-and-done system for top NBA prospects as a high hypocrisy, a complex system set up merely to milk a year of unpaid labor out of elite young athletes for schools. Brandon Ingram, who will quite possibly be the top overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, could be held up as an example of this. But even though he’s leaving Duke after one season, his declaration for the Draft (via the Player’s Tribune) makes it clear that it was not a wasted year.

Titled “Farewell, Duke,” Ingram’s piece tells the story of his basketball upbringing in Kinston, N.C., his recruitment by Mike Krzyzewski and thanks every member of the Blue Devils for their contributions to Duke and Ingram’s career, a la Kevin Durant’s MVP speech. Nowhere was his relationship with Duke so strongly justified, however, than this passage:

On one hand, one year at Duke isn’t a very long time. I know that. But I’ve done a lot of growing, and growing up, in that time. I know by leaving I’ll miss out on a lot of friendships and opportunities. I’ll really miss all the students who showed me so much love. One of my favorite parts of the Duke basketball tradition is the high-five line at the end of home games. The students who camp out for seats for up to a week before a game — and get in their seats two hours early — are always still there after the final buzzer. Win or lose. You guys gave me the energy and support that I needed. I’ll never forget you all.

Ingram’s love letter to the Cameron Crazies is enough to melt the cynicism from our cold hearts.

(Via Player’s Tribune)