Ingram provides the points for NCCU
Basketball purists emphasize the team game, although it helps to have somebody on a squad who can flat-out get buckets.
Jeremy Ingram is that guy for 5-1 N.C. Central, who take the court this evening at 4-3 Old Dominion (7 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
College basketball pickings looked slim for Ingram heading into his senior season at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. In fact, Ingram didn’t have any options to play ball in college until NCCU coach LeVelle Moton let him know that he liked his game and backed it up with a scholarship offer. Ingram said coaches from other colleges started sweating him after that, but he’s the loyal type and decided to bring his skills to Durham.
“I just looked at it as motivation,” Ingram said. “Whatever program I did end up at, I wanted be a big contribution to that program and really show I had the talent to go wherever I wanted to.”
“He’s one of the elite scorers in the country,” Appalachian State coach Jason Capel said.
Capel has been around a lot of good basketball. He was a forward at North Carolina, and his brother, Jeff, played point guard for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and right now is an assistant coach for the Blue Devils. Their father has coached both on the college level and in the NBA. So Jason Capel’s insight on Ingram has clout.
“He puts a lot of pressure on you,” Jason Capel said.
Ingram (6-3, 175) is the No. 3 scorer in the nation, averaging 25.8 points per game. That’s not just among historically black colleges and universities and smaller schools, either. Ingram’s buckets are lined up next to the baskets getting filled by players from the Dukes and North Carolinas, the Michigan States and Kansases.
This is the time of the year when big-boy basketball programs dine on cupcake schools, but Ingram put up 29 points in wins over both Campbell and N.C. State, and he dropped a career-high 36 points on Appalachian State.
Ingram can play, and not just in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference where NCCU competes, Jason Capel said.
“When you talk about a guy that’s averaging 26 points a game against the two high majors he’s played against so far, that translates,” Jason Capel said. “His ability to make shots, his quick first step, his ability to make you foul him. He can get to the line and make them.”
Against N.C. State, Ingram established a school benchmark for the most free throws made in a game with 19. The record was 17. Ingram made 18 free throws against Appalachian State.
Ingram hit some of those free throws in overtime sessions against N.C. State and Appalachian State, and there are those who would argue that new rules in college basketball are giving players more scoring opportunities at the foul line.
Rather fresh NCAA legislation is aimed at clamping down on flailing defenders trying to draw fouls without having established adequate position against ball handlers, and hand checking now is a no-no.
Moton suggested that the rules are the rules, and he’s telling his players to be aggressive out there on the floor and draw those fouls.