Idaho senior point guard Pat Ingram knows the importance of having a mentor.
As a freshman at Iowa, Ingram turned to shooting guard and future NBA player Devyn Marble for guidance.
“He already knew the ropes and was giving me tips on everything that I needed to do to get on the floor,” Ingram said. “That was a big part of why I went to Iowa — it was because of him and how much he helped me.”
Although he transferred out of the Hawkeye basketball program after one season, Ingram said the mentorship he received from Marble stuck with him.
“I was always at his house, we were always hanging after working out together,” he said. “If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have made it through. It was tough, but that’ll be my guy forever. He was a good friend.”
After leaving Iowa, Ingram transferred to Trinity Valley Community College, where he averaged 8.7 points per game and held a 46.1 shooting percentage as a sophomore.
Ingram then reopened his NCAA recruitment and took an interest when Idaho head coach Don Verlin reached out to him.
“I’m the type of person who can tell a lot about who you are in only one or two conversations,” Ingram said. “With him, I knew that he was just one of those types of people that was a genuine person.”
Ingram said he appreciated Verlin’s candid attitude throughout his recruitment.
“He told me straight up, ‘We want you, but you’re going to have to work because nothing is guaranteed,’” Ingram said.
The Vandal prospect said he was also impressed by the atmosphere on campus during his official visit.
“I just felt like it was one big family, and not only for the basketball program,” Ingram said. “I grew up with a big family, so I am a family-oriented type of person. Seeing that — not only from the basketball team but from everybody — it was a really good feeling.”
The signing of Ingram proved beneficial for the Vandals. He appeared in 25 games as a junior and played a key backup role following injuries to senior guard Perrion Callandret and junior guard Victor Sanders.
Ingram backed up the Idaho offense in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Tournament, recording a career-high 12 points against Eastern Washington in a 77-73 victory.
“Pat brings us an athletic guard who can play a couple of different positions,” Verlin said. “He’s really good at defending the basketball and he’s really good about driving his ball to the rack. This year we’re going to turn him loose and let him go rebound.”
Verlin said Ingram has stepped into a mentorship role for the younger members of the team.
“He had a big adjustment year coming from junior college and sitting out for a year,” Verlin said. “But he has really tried to help the younger guys, no question about it. I think he really likes doing that.”
Ingram said the motivation to be a leader stems from his experience with Marble.
“I had to deal with going to a big-time school, so I learned a lot from him,” Ingram said. “I know what coaches are looking for as an older guy, so anything I can do to help, I’m going to do it to get you on the court.”
Ingram said the leadership role extends to his time on the hardwood.
“I know it starts on the defensive end,” he said. “I feel like my thing has been to be a leader and talk all the time on defense — making sure that everybody is where they need to be and that we are being aggressive.”
Josh Grissom can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @GoshJrissom