Ingram A Frequent Visitor

Chances are, if you've looked behind the Carolina bench during home games this season, you've gotten a good look at Brandon Ingram.

Ingram, a sophomore at Kinston (N.C.) High, has been to five UNC games this season. And, if his high school playoff schedule allows, he'll soon be there for a sixth – UNC's regular-season finale against Duke.

A benefit of watching from the sideline as opposed to television, Ingram says, is being able to envision himself on the court.

"I try to visualize myself out there playing," the class of 2015 wing said. "I'm always going through the offense, going through the defense and seeing what they're doing."

As his number of visits might indicate, Ingram has strong interest in UNC and, it seems, UNC has strong interest in him.

"They have a great coach," Ingram explained. "I love their transition game, the way they get up and down the court. I like their defense too, how they just get after it."

UNC assistant coach Steve Robinson regularly checks in with Ingram's coaches – UNC can't contact Ingram directly until this summer, per NCAA rules – and visited Kinston during open gym in the fall.

"After games, they just tell me to keep coming back and enjoying it," said Ingram. "They tell me good luck during my season and tell me they have a lot of interest in me."

Despite the visits and strong interest from both parties, UNC hasn't yet discussed a scholarship offer to Ingram.

"They talked to me about their recruiting board a little bit," said Ingram. "But haven't had a deep conversation yet about an offer. Right now, it's just coming to games, telling me how I play, what they are looking for me to do and all that."

Ingram is averaging 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game for Kinston this season. The Vikings won their first-round playoff game over Northwestern Halifax on Monday, and host Northwood on Wednesday.

For Kinston, Ingram is asked to do a little bit of everything.

"I get in the passing lanes, box out and block shots defensively," Ingram said. "On offense, I'm a good spot up shooter and I like the mid-range game. I'd compare my game to (UCLA freshman) Kyle Anderson."

A decision for Ingram, who says N.C. State (offered on Tuesday), UNC and Wake Forest are recruiting him the hardest, likely won't come until the end of his junior year.

"The way I fit into the program and the feeling my parents get will be two of the most important factors for me," he said.

Ingram will be participating in Dave Telep's Carolina Challenge on March 23 for the second time. The event features the state's top talent. Last year, as a freshman, Ingram said he was tentative at the Challenge. He plans on changing that this year.

"I don't think a lot of people have seen me play well before," he said. "This year I want to show what I can really do. I just want to step up and be a leader and play my game."

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