"This is a harder level, it's the next big step for me," Ignerski said of his move to Division I-A. Michal came to State from Bacone Junior College in Oklahoma. "I really never played first division in Poland. I played international ball with a lot of European players. I'm just trying to adjust and play up to the level here. Playing at the junior college helped me get used to basketball in the U.S."
Seeing action early in the season has given Michal a chance to adjust to the new style of play, but he'll tell you there is a lot to work on.
"I've had to work on my passing and defense," said Ignerski of the new style. "It's a lot harder to pass, you have to do everything almost perfect. I'm also constantly running now. There's a lot more of that than there was. The endurance level has to be much higher here."
Watching Ignerski during the game you can get a sense of how versatile of a player he is, and just how balanced his game is. He resembles the mold of a Mike Dunleavy type player for Duke, someone who can take it outside for a three or drive past a defender.
"I'm that type of player," said Ignerski of his total game. "If I have a small player then I will try to post him up. For a bigger guy I will try to drive through him or step outside and shoot. I'm happy with my skills. I feel like I can handle most situations against a defender."
Michal realizes as SEC play approaches the level of play will only increase, and he welcomes that as an opportunity to measure his play.
"Everyone on the team is looking forward to SEC games," said Ignerski. "I look at it as a chance to check myself and see where I am right now. Every year, at each level, I try to look at where I am and what I need to improve on."
Michal said in Europe he was a shooter. He has that scorer's mentality that wants to put the ball in the basket, and that is what he will try to do.
"I know I can step out and use my skills to score," said Ignerski about his offense. "I will score as much as I can and then try to rebound as much as I can. Hopefully I can pass to my guys when they are open."
It's great to have a player like Ignerski on the team. He is such a complete player; it makes it hard for an opposing team to match up with him on defense. Luckily, he is just as happy to be here as we are to have him.
"I am very happy and don't even think now about what choices I had before I came here," said Michal of his choice to come to Mississippi State. "I have a great feeling with my teammates and coaches and it's great to be on this campus."
Fans following MSU basketball might notice or hear about the chemistry of this year's team and how close the players are to each other. Ignerski said it has not been like that for him before, but that this team really supports each other.
"In JUCO it wasn't that important to have a good chemistry on the team or be a family," described Michal of his previous experiences. "Here we are brothers. When things are going good we are brothers, but when things are going bad we have to be brothers. It's very important on this level to be together and stay together, because you have to help each other and not hurt each other. That's how you win."
With that last statement Michal may have already made the biggest adjustment of all. He has found the value of a unified team. For now it seems like the rest of the team has as well. With a great 8-0 start on the season, one of Michal's goals is an NCAA birth. Hopefully the rest of the team will be unified in that goal as well.
Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.