Brandon Ingram, the No. 3 player in the basketball Class of 2015, chose Duke as his college destination Monday evening inside the Kinston High School gymnasium.

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For the Tar Heels, the decision hurts. UNC had recruited the five-star recruit heavily since his freshman year in high school.

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Brandon Ingram sporting a Duke hat Monday (WITN)

But alas, Ingram will be playing for the national champions this fall, wearing a darker shade of blue.

Ingram says he’s ‘creating his own path’ in his basketball journey.

He made that statement loud and clear to the college hoops world when he slapped on a dark blue Blue Devil hat inside a packed gym lined with throngs of fans and media members.

UNC appeared to have the leg up on the competition in the Ingram Stakes. Roy Williams and the UNC coaching staff had him targeted for years. The Tar Heels also had the built-in advantage of former UNC players Jerry Stackhouse and Reggie Bullock hailing from Kinston – Ingram’s rural hometown.

Ingram had been talking to both and appeared destined to make his way to Chapel Hill. But instead, with the weight of the ominous NCAA cloud still hanging over Carolina, its most hated rival, Duke, swept in and grabbed the 6’ 8” talent at the eleventh hour.

Ingram with the slam dunk (Smith Hardy)

Ingram with the slam dunk (Smith Hardy)

But former Tar Heel great Phil Ford says deciding on a school to play ball is always a difficult decision, and it’s one each player must make for himself.

“It’s not a science in picking the right school. It’s just one of those things that you have to go with your heart. Follow your heart,” Ford says.

Yes, Ingram may be following his heart down the road to Durham, but that doesn’t make it sting any less for the Tar Heels.

Following his son’s announcement, Donald Ingram told the media the ongoing NCAA investigation ultimately killed UNC’s chances.

And his son doesn’t disagree. Brandon Ingram confirmed what had been a long-held belief by many – sans the NCAA cloud; he would have been wearing Carolina blue.

UNC has given out 13 offers to the class of 2015. Eleven of those players have opted for other schools – only Kenny Williams and Jaylen Brown remain.