In on Harrison Ingram | The Weekend Warrior
FEATURING: Harrison Ingram | PLUS: Quick Notes from OTE Pro Day
The Weekend Warrior is back! No Ceilings kicked off our season with a bang, and we have much more in store. The Draft Guide is out, there is new merch, and all of our on-air personalities are united under one banner. Our second year will undoubtedly be better than our first. We put in the time during the offseason to pick up some new ideas and hone in on to strengthen what made us successful in our first year. The recipe makes sense: the longer you work hard at something, the better you become. Makes sense, right? You would think that this is a universal truth. But it doesn’t always translate to other areas for some.
In a world that is infatuated with “one-and-done” prospects, sophomore players can become a little more slept on. We assume that there will be a carry-over in their weaknesses. They won’t be able to do certain things. There’s a reason they didn’t go pro after one year, after all. It’s easy to come up with excuses on why we don’t want to believe that a player can get better. Just because something is easy doesn’t make it right.
For a player that was highly touted in his draft class, Harrison Ingram did not have the freshman campaign a lot of people envisioned for him. He shot 38.8% from the floor, 31.3% from deep, and 66.3% from the free-throw line. Stanford wasn’t very successful, as they finished their season with a 16-16 record. It wasn’t a very pretty going for the freshman who ranked 16th on RSCI and was the 22nd ranked recruit by ESPN. Despite all of that, I feel the conviction to warn you not to sleep on Stanford’s sophomore.
We’ll start with the main reason NBA executives are going to come see Ingram play: his outstanding playmaking. Listed at 6’7” and 230 pounds, Ingram has the size that teams covet when filling out a roster. His strong build, paired with his high IQ is what makes him stand out among his peers. He has a keen sense of knowing where his teammates are and where they are going to be. When analyzing the playmaking of prospects, it’s not just the sheer numbers you have to pay attention to; it’s the types of reads they are capable of making.
Wings and forwards that can initiate the offense will never not find a home in the NBA. The areas on the floor where they can manipulate the defense can help to take advantage of guards being in help defense, while also creating passing lanes that give their bigs opportunities to catch cleaner looks with less clutter to contend with. We see here in this clip Ingram working a pick-and-roll (PnR) with teammate Lukas Kisunas (#32), on the left wing. Harrison does a great job on this possession in knowing the personnel involved on defense. Arizona has Pelle Larsson (#3) defending Ingram, with Christian Koloko (#35) on Kisunas. Larsson is an aggressive defender that will fight his way around screens. Koloko is known to be a drop big, but he steps out to defend Ingram off of the drive. As soon as he sees Koloko out of position, Harrison understands the lane that Kisunas has in front of him. He passes it high to the roller, who gathers it high and finishes with a dunk. Ingram maintains a good dribble cadence on the possession to allow the play to develop. Beautiful work.
If that pass didn’t do it for you, perhaps this one will. Another returning sophomore, Maxime Raynaud, is the PnR partner that helps set Ingram up to facilitate the offense. Raynaud comes up to set the screen, again on the left wing. Maxime slips the screen and pops out to the top of the key, as he is a 42.3% three-point shooter. Koloko has to switch on to Ingram again, who attacks the left baseline on a drive. As Ingram is driving past Koloko, every single Wildcat is looking at him. Harrison keeps his dribble alive under the basket while Jaiden Delaire (#11) fills the lane and finishes with a thunderous jam. Harrison was able to thread the needle between Koloko and Larsson with a quick flick of the wrist.
As I mentioned earlier, what makes a facilitator special is how they can make the right reads coming off of a screen. We’ve seen how Harrison Ingram can make the defense pay by hitting a roller and cutter, but now we’re going to see another type of read. Stanford is looking to get into their set quickly on this possession. Ingram brings the ball up the court and is looking to run this play off of the right wing. James Keefe (#22) sets the screen to Ingram’s left. Cal’s Jordan Shepherd (#31) picked up Harrison on the wing, with Lars Thiemann (#21) lined up against Keefe. As Keefe sets a nice screen on Shepherd, Thiemann stays in the drop to prevent Ingram from attacking the basket. Thiemann’s teammate, Grant Anticevich (#15), shades off of Jordan Delaire to almost stunt Ingram into making a bad pass. Instead of forcing the issue, our guy takes what the defense gave him and hits Delaire on the left wing for three easy points. This is a perfect example of how Ingram can make the defense pay by making a simple kick out.
Even when Ingram isn’t the one initially setting up the offense, his ability to run the secondary action off of the weakside can keep recovering defenses on their heels. In this play, Isael Silva is running a PnR action with James Keefe at the top of the key. Ingram is involved with a simple shallow cut on the left side, which puts Ingram just to the top of the left corner—furthest away from the action. This puts Utah player, Marco Anthony, in a place where he’s toggling between help and denial positioning. When Ingram receives the ball on the left wing, the defense has to be concerned with an entry pass to Brandon Angel (#23) on the left block, or a PnR set with Keefe working as a screener to Harrison’s right. Ingram opts to attack the screen with conviction, running Anthony right into Keefe’s pick. Notice how Rollie Worster (#25) is attached to Angel on the block, but he is fixated on Ingram running off of the screen. As Harrison runs parallel to the free-throw line, Utah goes to trap Ingram with the ball while also looking to stop Keefe from rolling to the rim. They leave Angel all alone on the left wing to can an open three. Ingram giving a little look to Keefe on the block gives the defense enough pause to allow Angel to get all of the spacing he needs.
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I’m just gonna say it: it’s not that bad, folks. If you would listen to most people in their preseason breakdowns of returning players, you would think that Ingram was the worst shooter in this class. He is just simply fine. He’s an okay shooter—which doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement, but it’s far better than what others would lead you to believe. In comparison to other draft-worthy players last season, he shot the three better than Patrick Baldwin Jr., JD Davison, Trevor Keels, Nolan Hickman, Bryce McGowens, and popular returning player Arthur Kaluma. Although he was only a 31.3% shooter from deep on the season, he finished as a 33.3% shooter in his last ten games—50% from deep in his last three.
What’s interesting about the fact that Ingram improved his percentage from distance as the season went on is that it improved with the shots not simply being of the “catch-and-shoot” variety. During this play, Silva and Raynaud are working the PnR with Ingram setting up camp off of the right wing. Silva eventually kicks the ball over to Ingram, who is covered by Arizona’s Justin Kier (#5). Ingram doesn’t do much to get separation against Kier on this play; a simple crossover and hesitation with his left, and Ingram is actually pulling up for a shot from deep. There is a little fallaway in the jumper, but the shooting base and gather are pretty clean. He’s squared up and the follow-through is in line with the hoop. Splash!
Bennedict Mathurin had a strong sophomore season, which resulted in him being a Top 10 pick. He’s also getting some early-season buzz as a Rookie of the Year candidate. I loved him in the draft—especially defensively. He does a great job here against Ingram, but Harrison’s work gets the better of Mathurin on this possession. Ingram receives the ball in the left corner on an island against Bennedict. With 15 seconds to go, Ingram dribbles right, takes a hard step back, crosses deep to his left, and hits a pump fake. Mathurin is a smart defender here, as he gets upright without committing to blocking the shot. Despite the sound defense, Ingram gathers the ball, rises straight up, and hits the difficult jumper. Again, his shot base and motion are very clean, and he converts to give his team a chance to stay in the game.
If you’re wondering why Arizona was up in Ingram’s jersey since he’s “such a bad shooter”, I believe it’s because of possessions like this. We see Ingram grab the offensive glass (something he’s very good at), and survey the court for an open teammate. Arizona State’s scouting reports must have stated to let Ingram beat you on his jumper. Look at how Alonzo Gaffney (#32) and Luther Muhammed (#1) give Ingram all of the space in the world in the left corner. Instead of buying into the belief that he’s not a shooter, Harrison takes a simple dribble and lets the shot fly. Easy day. His left foot is slightly back from his right, which isn’t ideal to me but he makes it work. The willingness to shoot is very encouraging at this point in the season.
While he showed improvement as a self-creator, he will have to show continued growth in the “catch-and-shoot” department. However, there are signs of life for him in that role. In this game against California, we see Stanford push the break. Delaire gets the board and kicks it to Michael O’Connell (#5). O’Connell finds Ingram setting up to receive the ball on the left wing. O’Connell hits Ingram, who steps right into his shot with confidence and lets it fly. If Ingram can prove that he can serve as a threat to shoot on the break with regularity, we could see a huge leap in his consensus standings.
Of course, Ingram will have to be a solid defender at his position. I think he will be based on what we saw at Stanford last season.
As we see Arizona running a high PnR with Kerr Kriisa (#25) and Koloko, Ingram is ready to help should Koloko get a head of steam running to the rim. Krissa hits Dalen Terry (#4) on the wing, who then kicks it to Ingram’s man, Kier, in the right corner. Ingram does a great job of closing out on Kier—who was a 36% shooter from deep last year—without giving up a foul or an uncontested drive. Getting into a wide base, Harrison forces Kier to drive left. Ingram slides step-for-step with Kier and gets vertical as the shot begins to rise. Although there isn’t a steal or a block, Ingram’s presence is enough to force a miss.
It’s important for wings and forwards to be able to stop Isolation drives to the rim. It’s also important to be able to switch on PnRs. Arizona State does a good job of getting seemingly their whole team involved in this set. Jay Heath (#5) gets the ball out of a DHO play from Jalen Graham (#2). Spencer Jones (#14) has Heath but trades with Ingram on the handoff. Ingram sticking with Heath through his drive to the rim is highly encouraging, as he’ll be switched onto guards on a consistent basis at the next level.
We see another example of Ingram’s ability to switch onto Guards in this game against Cal. Spencer Jones does a good job of fighting around the initial screen set by Cal’s Anticevich, but is forced to switch with Ingram following the second screen. Cal Guard Joel Brown (#1) felt he did a sufficient job of freeing himself up after those screens, and attacks Harrison to the right block. Brown did get a step on Ingram, but our guy doesn’t give up. He does a great job of flipping his hips to get into better position to bother the shot, as Brown switches hands to finish inside. Negative, Ghost Rider. Ingram creates a tough shot angle, and Brown misses the attempt.
On top of having some found footwork on the defensive end, Harrison Ingram has the hands and IQ that can help him force some turnovers as well. With Arizona State’s Marreon Jackson (#3) bringing the ball up the floor with a lead, Ingram steps up to pressure him before he reaches halfcourt. As Jackson tries to navigate around Ingram, our guys slides with him and forces him to the left sideline. Harrison understands the panic he has put Jackson in and pokes the ball free before it can go out of bounds. Stanford recovers the ball and calls a timeout. Another chance to trim the lead due to Ingram’s pesky defensive pressure.
Here’s another example of Ingram’s ability to force issues with his reach. As Colorado is out on the break, the ball finds its way into the hands of 2022 second round pick Jabari Walker (#12). With Walker gunning to the rim, and seemingly one guy to beat, you might assume that this break is a done deal. O’Connell is in position to try and bother Walker, but Walker does a nice rip-through move to have an easy layup. Not so fast! O’Connell’s presence slowed Jabari down just enough to allow the sprinting Ingram to get his hands on the ball as Walker brings it up for the shot. He’s able to gather the ball and set the offense up. The timing of this play is super impressive.
This will be the final clip I use to display the level of intelligence Ingram brings to both sides of the ball. Oregon State’s Dashawn Davis (#13) is looking to set up the offense on this play, and he is of the mindset that he can beat Ingram off of the bounce. There isn’t much analysis, or play breakdown, to offer here, as Harrison pokes the ball free while Davis just sets into his dribble combination. As the ball is poked free it bounces off of Davis’ leg, giving Stanford possession.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times: Scouts, fans, analysts, and everything in between all need to remain patient with prospects. Not everyone makes it to the league after one spectacular freshman year. Going through trials—going through some unexpected or unanticipated adversity—can help strengthen the character of these young men. It builds resiliency and resolve. Having a longer road offers perspective and life experience that taking an accelerated path simply cannot give you. The fact that Harrison Ingram is getting another summer to hone in on his craft while improving in some areas of concern is a good thing. Don’t take an ill-fated approach and count the young man out of being everything we expected him to be.
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Quick Notes from OTE Pro Day
On Tuesday, October 26th, I was given an incredible opportunity to attend the Overtime Elite’s Pro Day. Not only was I able to attend, but I was also able to link up with No Ceilings’s own Corey Tulaba. It was a phenomenal experience. The Pro Day consisted of some skill drills, some 4 v. 4 v. 4, and intense scrimmages between the City Reapers, Cold Hearts, and YNG Dreamerz. The OTE staff was incredibly welcoming—going above and beyond to answer questions, provide insight on day-to-day operations and the players’ routines, give tours of the facilities, and allow some personal time with the players and coaches.
Getting an opportunity to chat with players like Amen and Ausar Thompson, Bryson Tiller, Bryce Griggs, and Alex Sarr was amazing. They were all professional but personable. Hearing from General Manager and Head of Basketball, Damien Wilkins, as well as Head of Coaching and Basketball Development, Kevin Ollie, prior to the events left me feeling more confident in how intentional the Overtime Elite league is in becoming a place where players can come to really succeed—both in the present and in their futures.
I’m not going to empty my notebook on the experience, as Corey and I will be collaborating on a piece that will be dropping next week, but I would be remiss if I didn’t share some of my trip to the beautiful city of Atlanta while I’m still riding high on how much fun it was. Stay tuned for that piece next week. I give you my word, you’ll come away from it with a better understanding of the incoming crop of professional players and some of the inner-working of the OTE in general.