SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick discusses the chaotic finish to the regular season that is about to hit the Western Conference.
USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday night was more than a decade in the making for 32-year-old rookie Andre Ingram — and he more than made the most of his long-awaited opportunity.
After toiling in the NBA’s G League for 10 years, Ingram was called up by the Los Angeles Lakers for the final two games of the regular season and dropped 19 points in his debut against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. He made 6 of his 8 shots, including 4-of-5 three-pointers, and added three rebounds, three blocks, one assist and one steal.
So who, exactly, is Ingram? And what made his performance Tuesday night so special? Here are five things to know about the 32-year-old rookie, and his journey to this point.
1. He’s the pride of the Patriot League
A Richmond, Va., native, Ingram played college basketball at little-known American University in Washington D.C. He was a four-year starter for the Eagles and two-time first-team All-Patriot League honoree, graduating as one of the most accomplished players in the school’s history.
Ingram is only the second player from American University to reach the NBA, after Kermit Washington, the No. 5 overall pick in the 1973 draft. He’s also one of the few players from the Patriot League to ever make it to the league: Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum (Lehigh), Atlanta Hawks forward Mike Muscala (Bucknell) and 12-year veteran Adonal Foyle (Colgate) are among the conference’s most noteworthy products.
2. He’s a part-time math tutor
Ingram studied physics at American. And in recent years, as he started a family, he was struggling to get by on his G-League paycheck alone. So Ingram started tutoring kids in math.
“High school, middle school and college preparation tests, things like that,” Ingram told USA TODAY Sports before Tuesday’s game. “That was one of the ways I supplemented income throughout the season and in the offseason. Because you kind of have to when you play in the G League for a little while.
“So yeah, I’ve done it for years now. I enjoy it. It’s a true joy, actually, to do math for me and keep my brain going, kind of the stuff I’ve learned. Because trust me, I’ve forgotten a lot of stuff. To keep that part of the brain going, I actually enjoy it.”
3. He’s been around … awhile
When he made his NBA debut on Tuesday, Ingram immediately became one of the oldest players on the court. He’s the same age as Rockets point guard Chris Paul (32) and closer in age to Lakers coach Luke Walton (38) than many of his teammates, like Josh Hart and Julius Randle (both 23).
Ingram also spent more time in the G League than almost anyone in the history of the league. His 384 career games played, which span 10 seasons, rank second all-time, and his career minutes (9,836) rank third.
4. He took almost a full year off for his family
The New York Times reported that Ingram missed nearly an entire season so he could take care of his daughter and allow his wife, Marilee, to finish her college degree. He told USA TODAY Sports that his wife’s encouragement helped keep him going in the G League, even as doubts crept in and he questioned whether he should try to find a higher-paying job.
“Without that (support), I may have been forced to stop,” Ingram said. “People say it all the time but others really do sacrifice for you. My wife certainly did. Especially during those times of doubt, sometimes it was her (being) the encouraging one to say, ‘You’re going to keep going, right?'”
5. He’s a three-point shooting champ
No player in G-League history has made more three-pointers than Ingram, who has 713 over 10 years. He’s also twice led the G League in three-point shooting percentage, including last year, when he shot 55 percent from beyond the arc.
Ingram also has the unique distinction of being a two-time G-League three-point shootout champ at the All-Star game. He won in 2010, when he was a member of the now-defunct Utah Flash, then claimed another shootout title in 2016, when he beat former BYU star Jimmer Fredette in the finals.
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.
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