Triangle ACC basketball coaches and fans who turned out to see Kinston’s five-star recruit Brandon Ingram in the 43rd Holiday Invitational created a parking lot logjam Saturday afternoon at Broughton High.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, upon leaving, discovered his car was blocked in by none other than N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried, tournament director Bill Sewell said. Sewell had to have Gottfried move his car. North Carolina coach Roy Williams might have contributed to the parking lot mess, but he had to coach his Tar Heels against UAB in Chapel Hill and arrived later.
Inside the 2,400-seat gym that was filled for games throughout the day, Millbrook (12-0) defeated Kinston (8-3) 74-54 in a Summit Bracket semifinal on a day Ingram turned in a disappointing performance of five points and seven rebounds.
Fans seeing Ingram play for the first time weren’t impressed, but his career-low points won’t slow Krzyzewski, Gottfried and Williams from continuing to pursue him. The 6-foot-9, 180-pound senior small forward is ranked the No. 18 player in the nation by Rivals. He has named the three Triangle schools along with Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA as his six finalists.
Ingram didn’t give an indication of a favorite, but he did mention he’s asked more questions of Williams as a result of the school’s recent student-athlete academic scandal.
“I’ve done my own research, but I also trust the information Coach Williams has given me,” he said. “They’ve been helpful with the information I wanted.”
Ingram’s thoroughness in the recruiting game also is evident by his decision to wait until the April signing period rather than commit during the early November period. By April, he will have a better idea of returning college rosters.
“I want to go where I can make the biggest impact,” he said, adding that doesn’t necessarily mean he would rule out a team that returns its stars.
Asked about the one-and-done trend of college freshmen declaring for the NBA draft, Ingram was revealing again.
“Of course that’s the ultimate dream,” he said, “but I won’t go until I’m ready.”
After the game, Ingram, who had 27 points and 12 rebounds in Friday’s win over Leesville Road, dutifully took a seat in the media room. He was as patient with repeated questions about the recruiting game as he was stoic about Millbrook’s double-team defense that repeatedly banged him from end to end of the 84-foot court.
Millbrook’s unexpected sixth man in its defensive game plan was Ingram’s teammates; they forced shots instead of getting him the ball.
The Wildcats’ Chris Clemons won’t hear questions about turning pro, but the 5-foot-10 point guard bound for Campbell of the Big South Conference captured the spotlight for the second day in a row. He scored 37 points with nine rebounds and three assists a day after he put up 36 points with six assists to beat No. 2 Garner.
“I like to play against big competition,” Clemons said. “I like to attack them and show other coaches I’m better than (his two-star ranking). That’s what I do.”
Millbrook vs. Broughton in Holiday final
Broughton is in the Holiday final as the host team of an eight-team bracket for the first time since 1986 after the Capitals (10-1) defeated No. 15 Apex (5-5), 63-62. Broughton faces Millbrook at 6:50 pm Tuesday as the Wildcats seek their first title in 13 tries.
“These guys weren’t even thought about at that point,” Broughton coach Jeff Ferrell said of players born in 2006 and later. “I’m proud of our school and program. We’ll give it everything we’ve got Tuesday night.”
The Holiday final will be a rematch of the Cap Eight 4A Conference opener on Dec. 19 when Millbrook won at home 72-67.
Broughton survived Apex’s Ian Boyd, a 6-foot-3 junior who finished with 25 points and nine rebounds. Boyd tried to get off a shot following a defensive rebound racing the length of the court, but the buzzer sounded before he released a missed 18-footer.
Broughton’s Boston College-bound Jerome Robinson scored 15 with five assists and Roy McMillan added 15 points.
John Wall Bracket
Orangeville Prep’s 7-foot-1 Thon Maker, the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2016 who may re-classify as a senior, was impressed by the crowds before he stepped inside the Broughton gym.
“I saw people lined up outside and told coach to stop and let me take a picture,” said Maker, who scored 22 points with seven rebounds in a 67-63 win over Virginia Episcopal.
Raleigh’s Word of God won its semifinal with a 69-60 victory over Liberty Christian (Florida). Demetrius Troy scored 15 points and Jalen Harris had 14.
In Monday’s semifinals, the Holy Rams (15-0) will face the winner of the Wesleyan Christian and Carlisle (Virginia) game. Orangeville Prep will play Trinity.