The Chicago way: Ingram continues it at Loyola | NevadaAppeal.com

The Chicago way: Ingram continues it at Loyola

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
Loyola-Chicago guard Donte Ingram (0) defends against Tennessee forward Grant Williams (2) during the first half of a second-round game at the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Dallas, Saturday, March 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP | AP

ATLANTA — When Porter Moser was hired at Loyola of Chicago seven years ago, he inherited a team with just one player from the state of Illinois.

And, Loyola hadn’t had a Chicago public school player on its roster for a 12-year span before that. Moser knew that had to change, and it did with the signing of Milton Doyle.

“Milton Doyle was the first (now with the Nets),” Moser said during his press conference prior to today’s Sweet 16 game against Nevada at Phillips Arena. “Milton was the second-rated player in the state, and when we got Milton, I think everyone just kind of looked around the city and said, ‘wow, Milton is staying home.’”

The second key local addition was 6-6 Donte Ingram from Simien High School. Ingram is averaging 11.5 points and 6.4 rebounds in helping the Ramblers to a 30-5 record this season.

“The first time I interacted with Donte was over at Simeon doing a recruiting visit, and watching him come from a great program to where the kids are about winning,” Moser said. “Their coach is a terrific coach, getting after the guys in terms of discipline and playing the right way, and I just saw his athletic ability first.

“And then I got to know him walking around campus, and I got to meet his parents, and his brother played at Loyola 10 years earlier. So they were well aware, right out of the gate, one of the first things is they said to me is we know how good an education Loyola is. I thought, wow, they get this, this is great, it’s a fit. Donte has got an infectious personality. He’s got a smile that lights up a room, and then when he’s got a competitive streak on the court, that lights up a room.”

Ingram said it was the culture and Doyles’s decision that helped make up his mind.

“Moving to Chicago after my sophomore year of high school, I was kind of just getting situated in Chicago, at Simeon, then it got to where I was my senior year,” Ingram said. “Obviously I was just getting situated in Chicago, and then started to get interested in Loyola, and going up, visiting. And I started seeing myself being implemented into the system, and I liked the culture and where things were headed. Seeing other Chicago guys like Milton Doyle on the team, it just helped my decision.”

There was still talk Ingram was a tweener; he wasn’t big enough to be a power forward and didn’t handle the ball well enough to play small forward. Moser didn’t buy it.

“I love tweeners,” Moser said. “I think they’re mismatch guys.”

Ingram said he considers himself a guard, but he also likes his versatility.

“I kind of embraced being more versatile, adding certain pieces to my game,” he said. “And especially with the guys that we have, we were always at a mismatch position. I embraced it. Obviously basketball nowadays is becoming more positionless, so the more things you can do, the better chance you have of being out on the court.

“So I kind of embraced adding low-post in, mid-post and everything to my game. And obviously nowadays, like I said, the way the game is, the more things you can do, the better chance you’ve got of being on the court.”

Moser said Ingram has progressed each and every off-season.

“He has been about winning,” Moser said. “He’s been about others. He’s been a great teammate. And then the other thing that really struck me about Donte over the years is how much he’s improved. Every single off-season, Donte has improved, and that’s part of our culture of development, which we have to be a program of development, and a part of his culture as a buy-in.”