Everyone knows the Philadelphia 76ers will select LSU rookie Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. The real question is, will the Los Angeles Lakers select Duke product Brandon Ingram at number two?
We spoke to the consensus second-best player in the 2016 NBA Draft and asked him about his tattoos, his grooming habits, and the Kevin Durant comparisons.
What are you going to wear to the draft?
“I can’t give that up! All I can say is that I’ll wear black pants.”
Have you got something thrown together? Are you going to “wow” everybody?
“Not too much, but a little bit. It will be a little different but I don’t want to be obnoxious. A little bit of flavor on a classic look.”
What’s it been like to work with Speed Stick’s Coach #Speedman prior to the draft?
“It’s been fun, he’s told me a lot of things as far as what to be prepared for.”
Has he given you any kind of grooming advice?
“Nothing crazy. I’m not going to get my haircut for the Draft because my head is probably too small for the hat. We’re just gonna keep it nice and neat.”
“Nahhh, I’m not going for a Mohawk. Won’t do a Mohawk.”
How often do you shave? Any new crazy facial hair for the draft?
“No. I barely have any so I’m trying to keep the little bit that I have!”
What did you think about the Finals? Are you a LeBron guy or a Steph Curry guy?
“Neither one, actually. I really like my Thunder guy, but I wanted LeBron to win.”
Is Durant the guy you’ve been into since you started playing or is that a new development?
“Since he was at the University of Texas.”
Was your game similar to his early on?
“Yes. As I grew and still played the guard position.”
At this point when you hear those comparisons, is it tiresome? Or, are you stoked about it?
“It’s motivational. To see him at that level and me trying to get to that level. I like being compared to him.”
Are you a video game guy?
“Not at all. I’ve played the occasional 2k16 but I am terrible at that. My go-to guy is of course Kevin Durant.”
How old were you when you got your first tattoo?
What was the first one?
“A scripture – ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’ On my left forearm.”
So you got that at 17, you’re 18 now – you’ve been putting in some tattoo work!
Do you have one tattoo artist that you use?
“I did at first, but now I have two different guys I got to now.”
Have you ever gotten more than one tattoo in a single day?
“Yes, I have.”
Are you going to be completely covered by the end of the year?
“Not completely, but somewhere near it. Not everywhere, but definitely on my arms.”
You’re not going to do the KD full torso?
“Uh, I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
That sternum is pretty sensitive!
“Ha, it is!”
In 8th grade Jerry Stackhouse became your AAU coach. Did you know who he was? What was the #1 thing you learned from him?
“Toughness. Me working out with him all the time and seeing how aggressive he was on each play. And just being around him professionally, has helped me out a lot. He’s laid back as a person, but his style on the floor, being aggressive, is how he is as a coach.”
What was the coach K experience like for you? Compare him to Stackhouse as a coach.
“They’re very similar. Very enthusiastic. They don’t sugar coat anything – they tell you the truth. Coming from both of those coaches has helped me out a lot.”
Would you rather step back and knock down a three, or cram on a dude at the rim? What’s the most exciting play for you?
“Probably at the rim – dunking on someone at the rim.”
Have you met Durant yet?
“I have not.”
When you meet him, are you going to try and go one on one with him? What are you going to say to him?
“I’ll just try to learn from him. Of course I’ll compete against him when we’re on the floor. But just try and learn different things from him to add to my game.”
How did you know you were ready for the NBA – was there an exact moment or play?
“Yes. Just right before the NCAA Tournament I felt my confidence getting better and better. And in the Tournament, I shot with a little different edge. I just felt ready. I feel like I can do everything. I just need to tighten everything up.”
How did you develop such a nice touch for a 6′ 10″ guy?
“I think that came from my dad. And of course my brother. They both always had a good shooting touch. And I just developed it with my dad and brother whenever they worked me out.”
Do you know where you’re going to end up on Draft night?
“I have no idea.”
Does it matter to you?
“It really doesn’t matter to me. I’m just happy to be here.”