Summer Series Issue 7: Jack Ingram

In the sixth issue of the <b> Summer Series</b> that will look at each returning Illinois player and how Illinois stacks up in the national race, looks at Illinois' senior forward Jack Ingram. <br><br> Read more in this issue of the <i> Summer Series</i>.

The seventh edition of the Summer Series continues the look at Illinois' options off the bench with senior power forward Jack Ingram.

Jack came to Champaign as a transfer from Tulsa. Ingram was recruited to Tulsa by former Illinois Coach Bill Self when he was still coach there. Despite being recruited by Self, and then transferring to Illinois, Ingram has never played in a game coached by Self during his college career. One of the first roster moves Bruce Weber made when he arrived in Champaign was giving Jack a scholarship covering his final two years of eligibility at Illinois.

The beginning of last season was a time of flux for the Illini as Weber was learning the different abilities of every player on the Illini. This was noticeable on the inside where Weber was looking to replace Brian Cook with a combination of two freshmen and a transfer in his first season. As the season wore on, Jack gained more and more time in the rotation before finally becoming a staple during the stretch run. He supplanted freshman Brian Randle becoming the second big man off the bench, providing a solid five to ten minutes in the paint. When Ingram was on the court he added interior toughness and a willingness to set hard screens.

Offensively Jack seemed to prefer to face up, instead of staying on the block. The weird thing this preference was it was counter to the style many fans and media members had reported he played in practice and pick up games the year before. But to those who watched Ingram at Tulsa, it made sense because that was the style he seemed to prefer then.

  • Jack is Illinois' best player at setting picks, bar none. There is no comparison between him and the rest of his teammates. Jack will set up, and wait for contact from the defender before making his next movement. The patience with which Jack sets screens is something his teammates have yet to master. This is definitely a huge addition to Illini offense because when Jack is on the court he can get teammates open shots simply by to setting solid picks and sealing off defenders.
  • If there is one thing you can count on from Jack when he is in the game, it is consistent toughness and hustle. Jack will not be the player that comes off the bench and energizes the team. He will be the guy that comes in the game and fights on every possession trying to do whatever he can to help his team win.
  • Despite preferring a face up offensively, Jack is not a good shooter. With the pick and pops Illinois will run next season, Jack will be required to hit the open fifteen to seventeen footer. Unfortunately to this point in his career, Jack has not shown the ability to consistently hit that shot.
EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT SEASON Despite only being able to watch Jack extensively for a year, I think it is pretty safe to assume we already know what Jack will bring to the court next season. Jack will be a serviceable big man who can give a team five to ten minutes of solid play, but if he is required to play more Illinois will most likely be in trouble. He will not knock your socks off with any aspect of his skill repertoire, but he will be there working hard, providing a presence on both ends of the court. Last season Bruce Weber leaned more and more on Ingram's consistent play versus the erratic play of freshman Brian Randle. That same philosophy is probably what we will see in the early portions of next season.

Outside of James Augustine and Roger Powell, I think the playing time on the interior is up for grabs. Jack can easily grab five to ten minutes a game by being himself and not making mistakes. Even if Jack improves his on court play, one of Illinois' younger big men could easily replace him in the rotation by living up to their potential. The best thing for the eventual success of Illinois in the NCAA Tournament is probably Jack getting a solid five minutes a game; while one of the younger players establishes himself and grabs the extra five minutes Jack was playing late last season.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories