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UNC Basketball Summer Preview: Harrison Ingram

Will the Stanford transfer start from day one?

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Stanford D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a strange offseason, to say the least. I would say that the roster is set at this point, but every time I say that something else seems to happen. Regardless, Hubert Davis has assembled a group that, at least on the surface, has the tools to be competitive in the ACC and beyond. One reason for that is the addition of the talented small forward from Stanford, Harrison Ingram.

Past Previews links:

Armando Bacot

Cormac Ryan

Paxson Wojcik

Jae’Lyn Withers

RJ Davis

Jalen Washington

Despite a pretty nice haul of players from the transfer portal, Ingram is the guy I believe has the most potential. As a five-star recruit, he was actually recruited by Roy Williams out of high school but chose to play for former Carolina assistant Jerod Haase at Stanford instead. After winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, Ingram’s numbers stayed relatively the same last season as the Cardinal finished 14-19. Still, he was an integral part of the team and his play has shown he can be a very solid fit with these Tar Heels.

Last season, Ingram averaged 10.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 40.8% from the field, 31.9% from three, and 59.8% from the free throw line. Ingram hasn’t been particularly efficient throughout his career, something that can improve with new teammates and another year of experience. At Stanford, he was the second-leading scorer and consistently treated as such by the defense. He’s got solid ball skills for someone his size and can be an effective finisher when he attacks angles properly.

Where Ingram will likely make the biggest impact is on the defensive side of the ball. After losing a player in Leaky Black, who could be counted on to regularly lock down the opposing team’s best player, the Tar Heels had a major hole to fill. It’s tough to expect the same type of consistency out of Ingram, but he possesses the intangibles that allowed Black to thrive.

At 6’8, 230 pounds, Ingram has the size and athleticism to guard multiple positions. He’s an intelligent defender and can be very effective in help situations. With a 7’0 wingspan, he uses his length to get in passing lanes and create turnovers, perfect for a Carolina team that will be looking to get out on the break. Though not necessarily a prolific shot blocker, Ingram does well to challenge and affect shots.

Although he’s not a prolific shooter, Ingram makes up for it with his exceptional passing ability. There’s a ton of value in your three/four-man being able to make plays for others. With the presence of RJ Davis and Elliot Cadeau in the backcourt, the Heels should have no shortage of distributors.

Speaking of, it will be interesting to see how Ingram integrates with this roster. Of the newcomers, I believe Cadeau and Ingram currently have the best chances of cracking the starting lineup. If that’s the case, it should bode well for Davis, Armando Bacot, and whoever else gets to receive passes from those two. They both have a great understanding for the game and are constantly seeking out their teammates. The only concern is that with neither one being an especially great shooter, it could create issues similar to last season. Carolina needs one of Ingram or Cadeau to show more than what we’ve seen in that area.

The percentages may not reflect it, but Ingram has proven he can knock down shots in the right situations. On catch and shoot attempts last year, he had an EFG% of 55. Though he doesn’t get much elevation, Ingram sets his feet well and his form is clean. As someone with NBA aspirations, there’s no lack of motivation for him to improve his jumper. With another offseason of work under his belt, Ingram will be looking to turn a corner.