Kevin Durant, Coach K praise Brandon Ingram at Team USA camp

Brandon Ingram’s tenure as a Los Angeles Laker has been busy so far. The second overall pick donned a jersey for the team in Summer League. While he had expected struggles, Ingram managed to have a mostly successful tournament.

Immediately after Summer League, Ingram turned his focus on the next bit of important basketball. Along with teammates D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, Ingram is a part of the Select Team in Las Vegas helping Team USA prepare for the Rio Olympics.

There has been plenty of cell phone footage of Ingram and the other Lakers playing well against elite competition in a practice setting. But more importantly, Ingram is receiving praise from some of the key members of the team.

The first sweeping praise came from Mike Krzyzewski, coach of Team USA for the last time this summer. Krzyzewski, who coached Ingram at Duke for his lone season, spoke about his young protege and the potential that he has.

Most prominently, Coach K spoke about Ingram’s willingness to get better, which should make every Lakers fan swoon (via Lakers.com):

“Brandon is very smart about people, about the game, and he’s a willing learner. I’m telling you, he’s a no-maintenance guy. I love that kid. I think he’s going to be very special (in) some time.”

Everyone talks about him being thin. He’s strong: strong-minded and strong-willed. And he’s stronger physically than people think”

Coach K also talked about the opportunity that Ingram has as a rookie on the Select Team and what it could do for his career:

“When one of our own guys from Duke is good enough to be part of that process, I look back — not that I’m saying he’s Kevin Durant — at Kevin Durant at 17 (years old) on a Select Team; Kyrie Irving at a young age, Klay Thompson.

“So now Brandon has that opportunity, and you learn from it. But I’m proud of him. I love Brandon. Brandon’s a no-maintenance, great guy.”

It certainly is a fantastic opportunity for Ingram to practice with some of the best players in the world before ever stepping on an NBA court.

While Coach K was unwilling to make the Kevin Durant comparison that will undoubtedly surround Ingram for some time, another member of Team USA was much more inclined to do so. That person was Kevin Durant.

The newest Golden State Warrior (and future Ingram backup) told Serena Winters of LakersNation (h/t Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll) that looking at Ingram is basically like looking at himself:

That’s clearly high praise coming from a top-three player in the NBA. Ingram’s skillset as an 18-year-old is impressive to say the least and has caught the eyes of the player he is most often compared to.

Of course, expectations should still be tempered. Ingram really hasn’t had the production that KD had entering the NBA and despite his physical stature being similar, he has a long way to go to reach those levels. Durant is already an all-time great and Ingram becoming a fraction of the player he is currently would be a major success for him and the Lakers.

Nevertheless, seeing the praise for the rookie is great and should have fans excited about his future as he grows alongside an entertaining and young team.

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