NEWS, NOTES &
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.
Jeremy Ingram, a
to suit up for East
Carolina at the
end of the fall
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
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
“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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