Ingram, Chapman at 4-year crest of NCCU's changing tide

Jan. 23, 2014 @ 09:27 PM

An NBA scout who was at Wednesday’s Aggie-Eagle game said he’d need another look at N.C. Central senior Jeremy Ingram at another time.

There’s only so much you can tell about a player during a 40-point blowout, the scout said.

NCCU smashed archrival N.C. A&T 84-44 in McDougald-McLendon Gymnasium. Nobody on the floor scored more than Ingram’s 20 points, some of those buckets set up by Emanuel Chapman, whose game-high nine assists helped illustrate why he’s the No. 4 ball distributor in the nation.

Chapman’s 521 career assists make him the best in that category in NCCU history.

Earlier this season, Ingram was the nation’s No. 3 scorer. That average, once 28.4 points per game, is now is at 19.3, making him the No. 37 scorer in the country.

NCCU coach LeVelle Moton swears by both Ingram and Chapman, even though not many other college basketball coaches thought very highly of them when they were in high school.

Ingram, out of Charlotte’s East Mecklenburg High School, said Moton was the first coach to offer him a basketball scholarship. Other coaches wound up showing interest, but they were Johnny-come-latelies.

Chapman said he had some opportunities to keep playing ball once he finished at Raleigh’s Enloe High, but his most serious offer came from NCCU.

Moton, who also played at Enloe, has known Chapman since he was born. All these years later, they’re together, which gets at a certain loyalty that Moton holds dear.

Chapman (6-1, 160) is slightly built, and there is nothing about him screaming that he can impact a basketball game. At least Ingram (6-3, 175) is bigger.

But those two haven’t stopped working on their games since arriving on campus, Moton said.

“They’re my first four-year kids that I’ve ever coached,” Moton said.

College sports has no shortage of athletes who go from school to school looking for more-ideal situations often associated with increased playing time. That’s the norm.

But that’s neither Ingram nor Chapman. NCCU gave each of those guys a shot when hardly anybody else wanted them. So they made up their minds to love the school that gave them the biggest hug.

Moton rewarded that loyalty by doing something he’s never done — feature individual players on the team poster. Ingram and Chapman are front and center.

That move doesn’t appear to have hurt the chemistry of the Eagles, who are 3-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, 12-5 overall.

After NCCU beat A&T, Chapman, Ingram, junior Karamo Jawara and newcomer Jordan Parks, a junior transfer, sat together for postgame interviews in order to be questioned at the same time, showing solidarity.

Chapman said he and Ingram have been around long enough to have witnessed a culture change in NCCU basketball. During their college careers, NCCU has gone from the team that represented guaranteed wins for opponents to a squad that showed up on N.C. State’s home floor on Nov. 20 and left with the Eagles’ first win in school history over an Atlantic Coast Conference team.

“Of course, it’s not UCLA, but we have prestige, as well,” Chapman said. “We’ve seen the change. We’ve seen the tide turn.

“This is our last go-around, so we’re trying to make it special.”

NOTES — NCCU hosts Coppin State on Saturday (4 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com), the second half of a doubleheader that features the NCCU women hosting Coppin State at 2 p.m.