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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

By Bethany Bradsher

Ingram brings positive package to Pirates


If you have an image of sullen, brooding college students who shuffle their feet when they walk, then prepare to have your stereotype dismantled when you meet Jeremy Ingram.

Sophomore guard
Jeremy Ingram, a
Wake Forest
transfer who
became eligible
to suit up for East
Carolina at the
end of the fall
semester, is
representing the
Pirates well on
and off the court.
[Photo: ECU SID]

Smiling broadly, he practically bounces up to meet a newcomer with eye contact and a handshake. And he makes no secret of the fact that he is doing exactly what he wants to do in the place where he wants to do it.

“Every time you see me I have a smile on my face,” said Ingram, a Kinston native. “I’m just so happy. I’m doing something I love.”

Even if he offered little more than his spirited brand of leadership, Ingram might be a spark plug on the Pirates’ basketball team. But he has talent as well as personality, so Ingram is very quickly making his mark on the team he selected after deciding to transfer from Wake Forest more than a year ago.

NCAA transfer regulations forced Ingram to sit out East Carolina's first seven games, but since he joined the team on Dec. 18, the Pirates seem to have found their legs. They have won three of their last four games, losing only in a nailbiter against Wake Forest last week.

Ingram is the second leading scorer on the team with an average of 12.2 points, and he is leading the Pirates in both three-point average (40 percent) and in free-throw average (87.5 percent.)

He is a tremendous person,” said head coach Ricky Stokes. “He is a very good student, and a good ambassador for this team.”

As a senior at Kinston High, Ingram averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. He was a one-man show who was being courted by schools near and far, and he cast his lot with Wake Forest.

But the program that seemed like such a perfect fit when he was a high school senior never really felt comfortable when he was actually wearing the black and gold. He played in eight games, averaging just over seven minutes per game. Where he had averaged 19 points a game in Kinston, he scored the same number all year as a Demon Deacon freshman.

Before his sophomore season got started, Ingram announced his intention to transfer.

Ingram’s next step was finding a place to recharge his hoop dreams, but in a sense his move to Greenville seemed like a foregone conclusion, he said. His childhood buddy Corey Rouse was here, as well as former high school coach George Stackhouse. And it was right down the road.

“When I said I was going to transfer from Wake Forest, everything was open,” he said. “In the back of my mind, I knew I was going to be a Pirate.”

So Stokes can thank Bill Herrion and his staff, and perhaps Skip Prosser, for adding depth and passion to the Pirates backcourt. One of the greatest gifts Ingram has brought to the team is more frequent rest for all of the guards, Stokes said. Starters and their backups are both playing better because they are not being relied on as heavily, he said.

It was a treat, Ingram said, to return to Winston-Salem last week wearing different colors. He spent the days prior to the game coaching his new teammates on the strengths and weaknesses of his old ones, and he scored 10 points as the Pirates came to the brink of a season-defining upset before losing 58-54.

“The emotions were flying,” he said. “It just felt great going and playing in Winston-Salem. I enjoyed every bit of it. I’m just disappointed that we came up on the short end.”

When he’s not playing, Ingram studies and hangs out with friends like Rouse, the friend he met when the two were small boys playing ball in a Kinston league called the Termite league. (“He’s my brother,” Ingram said of Rouse.)

He tries to use his time off the court wisely, but right now all of those other activities just seem to be accompaniment to the task that is occupying so much of his mental energy.

“My life is here on the basketball court,” said Ingram, who has been slowed lately by three knee surgeries in three years. ““I have two goals – to stay healthy and do whatever I can to help East Carolina win basketball games.”

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02/23/2007 01:12:42 AM

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