Duke basketball: NBA Blue Devil drawing early ‘MVP’ chants

Duke basketball alum Brandon Ingram (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball alum Brandon Ingram (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball product Brandon Ingram is on pace for an impressive season.

At best, former Duke basketball one-and-done Brandon Ingram is a darkhorse candidate to snag the NBA’s Most Valuable Player honor this season, his second with the New Orleans Pelicans after spending his first three years as a pro with the Los Angeles Lakers. But any awards talk for the league’s 2019-20 Most Improved Player is obviously premature.

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Nevertheless, during the closing seconds of Ingram’s prolific performance in a 120-116 home win over the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night to push the Pelicans to 4-2, some of the few folks in attendance confidently cast their early vote for the 6-foot-7 forward via an “M-V-P” chant:


Following the game, Ingram acknowledged what he heard from the fans after consistently carving up the Toronto defense:

“The support has been here ever since I’ve been here…I definitely appreciate them. They give me confidence also, and I just want to keep continuing to go.”

Ingram, a 23-year-old who earned his first All-Star selection last season and leads the Pelicans in playing time at 33.2 minutes per game this season, finished his 35 minutes on the court against the Raptors with 31 points, six rebounds, four assists, and a block while going 8-for-17 from the field, including 4-for-8 from downtown, and 11-for-14 from the charity stripe.

The former No. 2 overall draft pick is now averaging 24.0 points, 6.8 boards, and 5.3 dimes to go along with fairly efficient shooting percentages: 46.6 from the field, 42.1 from three, and 80.0 from the foul line.

The other two Duke basketball talents in the Bayou

Former Blue Devil Zion Williamson exhibited a couple of electric spin moves versus Toronto on his way to tallying 21 points and seven boards in 33 minutes while shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 7-for-10 from the foul line. The 20-year-old forward is now second on the team this season in both points (19.7 per game) and rebounds (8.2 per game).

Meanwhile, the veteran of the three Bayou Blue Devils, 36-year-old guard JJ Redick, totaled only five points, three rebounds, and two assists across 21 minutes in the latest outing while still struggling to find the bottom of the net on his 3-point attempts (0-for-3). The 15th-year pro is now averaging a mere 7.3 points while shooting only 25.8 percent from beyond the arc.

New Orleans next hosts the 4-2 Indiana Pacers at 8 p.m. Monday.

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