Freshman Dazon Ingram thought the nerves were behind him, but in front of a crowd of 14,970 the nerves came back.
“At first I had a little nerve, but as the game went on it just started to wear off,” Ingram said. “As we started to play fast like we supposed to it just all went away.”
Ingram played 10 minutes in the first half and he had four points two rebounds and three assists to show for it. Before the game Ingram said he needed the confidence to take more shots.
In the second half Ingram settled in and showed the crowd why coach Avery Johnson chose the freshman to fill a spot in his starting lineup. He finished the night with 16 points, trailing only Retin Obasohan who finished the night with 18. Ingram also added rebounds and one assist as he played 18 minutes in the second half.
“I’m proud of him, you know Dazon’s a gamer,” Obasohan said. “He’s one of those guys that’s really talented and has tremendous potential and what you guys saw tonight is just a glimpse of it.”
Johnson said one of the reasons Ingram was able to have more success in the second half was because of the team’s decision to run more man-to-man plays on offense in the second half.
One of the more intriguing position battles in the offseason centered around Ingram and fellow point guard Justin Coleman. As a sophomore Coleman had more experience, but Ingram has seven inches and roughly 40 lbs. on his teammate.
“You can do a lot of things with him offensively,” Johnson said. “I just think with him quarterbacking the team he just did an unbelievable job tonight just getting us in our sets and knowing what to run.”
Johnson did not say Ingram won the starting position tonight, but when both players were on the court Ingram almost always retained point guard duties.
When Ingram was on the court without Coleman Alabama outscored Kennesaw State 22-12. When Coleman was in the Crimson Tide outscored the Owls 23-18 so the defense perhaps suffered the most without Ingram’s size.
“He can guard all three positions on defense,” Johnson said. “We continue to go back to Dazon and Retin playing in the backcourt together. Both of those guys allow us to be a lot more flexible especially on defense, and even on offense because they both can handle the ball.”
The point guard competition will likely continue going forward, but Ingram should be the clear favorite unless something changes. Other position battles also continue since prior to Friday night’s game only Retin Obasohan and Jimmie Taylor were locked into starting roles.
Arthur Edwards got the start tonight and eventually fouled out with six points and five rebounds in 21 minutes of play. His primary competition Riley Norris finished the evening with zero points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
Shannon Hale’s starting spot is technically not secured yet, but Johnson said he is close to locking it down and Hale has appeared has started all four periods of play since Johnson took over including the exhibition game last week.
“We overcame some adversity and a lot of guys contributed to our win tonight,” Johnson said. “I have a lot of confidence in our guys playing the way they did.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports