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Harrison Ingram commits to North Carolina - here's what it means for the Tar Heels

Credit: North Carolina Athletics

On Saturday, one of the most high-profile players in the transfer portal came off the board - when Harrison Ingram, a 6'7 forward who spent the last two seasons at Stanford committed to North Carolina.

It was a massive pick-up for the Tar Heels, who are looking to bounce back from an embarrassing season which began as the No. 1 ranked team in the country, only to end up missing the NCAA Tournament altogether.

So what do you need to know about Harrison Ingram, and how does he fit with the Tar Heels? Let's take a look:

Who Is Harrison Ingram?

Ingram was one of the most skilled and well regarded players in the portal this offseason, mainly due to his very impressive feel for the game and scoring ability. A prolific high school player at St. Marks in Dallas, Texas, Ingram was the No. 19 overall player and No. 6 ranked small forward in 247’s high school class of 2021. In addition, he was a McDonald’s All American, which is the highest achievement any player can have at the high school level.

In many instances, players transfer due to not being able to get on the floor or not being ready to contribute right away. That wasn’t the issue here with Ingram however, as he started a combined 62 games during his two years at Stanford. In those two seasons, Ingram averaged 10.5 points in 29.4 minutes per game. Ingram was the Cardinals' second leading scorer in each of his two seasons on The Farm, but at times it almost seemed like there was too much talent on the Stanford roster.

The Cardinal had nine different players that averaged double digit minutes per game, and their struggles were not due to a lack of talent in the locker room. A fresh start for the talented wing could be what’s needed.

What does he do well?

Ingram is a very effective rebounder, especially for someone at his size, known for scoring the basketball. The 6’7” forward led Stanford in rebounding as a freshman, with 6.7 per game and finished second on the team this season with 5.8 per game. This is a skill that can help any team, especially with this production coming from the 3 or 4 position.

In addition Ingram is an above average defender, averaging nearly a steal per game throughout his college career and is capable of guarding any team's best player. Ingram has also stayed healthy throughout his college career, never missing a single game in his two years at Stanford.

What does he need to work on?

Ingram is a very capable scorer but needs to improve on his three-point shooting in order to really take the next step. Ingram struggled shooting the ball from three during his time at Stanford, with only a 31 percent clip over his career 55 games played. Ingram should be able to improve this as time goes on, however this is the key component that will put Ingram’s game over the top.

Ingram has also led Stanford in turnovers per game over the course of the last two seasons, with just over two per game. Playing at North Carolina with a ball handler like R.J Davis should be able to take some pressure off of his hands, but taking care of the ball will be necessary at his new home.

How does he fit at North Carolina and what does it mean for the Tar Heels?

North Carolina is not just coming off a bad season, but a historically disappointing one. But while what happened on the court last year was inexcusable, what also can't be denied is this: Hubert Davis has done just about everything one coach can in the off-season to get things right.

And Ingram is the centerpiece of that.

Since the day he took the job in April 2021, Davis has talked about the need to have a big, modern forward at the four. Long gone would be the days of North Carolina playing with two back-to-the-basket bigs (the preferred roster composition of former coach Roy Williams) and in would be a new age style, with a floor-spacing four to stretch the defense and create mismatches for the opposing team.

That's exactly what Ingram is.

While - as mentioned above - he needs to improve his three-point shooting, expect to see the best version of Ingram at North Carolina next year. He won't be saddled with having the offense like he was at Stanford, but instead, will be surrounded by parts that fit his game perfectly.

RJ Davis at point guard. Floor-spacing with guards Cormac Ryan and Paxson Wojcik. A true big man in Armando Bacot. And Ingram, the perfect piece to compliment them all.

At this point the heat is on Davis to produce wins on the court, from the start of the season - not just hope to get hot in late February and March.

But as far as this off-season is concerned, Davis has done about all you could ask of a head coach coming off a disappointing season.

Ingram is the latest, and maybe most important piece.


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