With 61 German Regionalliga teams playing this season, there is a very good chance that you will see an at least one American player playing in any game and it wasn´t any different when I visited TV Idstein battle FC Kaiserslautern last weekend. In German soccer, FC Kaiserslautern is a legendary team, but in German basketball just another team. On this night there were 3 Americans on the court with Aaron Ellis who had a stellar career at Wichita State, Edward Hall and a diminutive 183cm point guard from Madison, Alabama named Jeremy Ingram. At first glance, his hair reminded me something between a Kenneth Faried and Courtney Fortson, but the long wavy hair didn´t keep my attention long as his game began to do the talking. It didn´t take long to notice that this quick, flashy guard was a lot better than the rest of the guys running up and down the court. He scored 33 points in the first win over Giessen which is often seen by the American guards putting up many many points to help their stats, ego and climb up the ladder, but against FC Kaiserslautern it was different. Ingram scored only 20 points in a comfortable blow out victory Ingram probably could of scored 40 on this night, but he didn´t showing not only his team play, but unselfishness trying to do the best for his team. ““I know that I don´t have to score 30 points each game. I have great teammates and shooters around me. I try to get my teammates involved as much as I score“, warned Jeremy Ingram. The American has had an interesting professional career playing for 2 Regionalliga 2 teams(5th division) and a Oberliga(6th division) team, but his journey has been a tough one and may never have landed in Germany as a professional had he not had had the initative to come to Germany in 2016, because his mom was living there. “I didn´t play my senior season because me and the coach never got along so he ended up putting me off the team my senior season for something that wasn’t my fault. Even though I was very talented, he pretty much just didn’t like me so he kicked me off the team like I wasn’t even important, when everybody knew my senior season was going to be very special. Coach Hayes was my coach and he definitely didn’t help my career at all just being honest. He made my basketball journey a lot harder than what it had to be. But I do appreciate him for giving up on me because it made me work even more harder to get to where I’m trying to go. He pretty much tried to end my career. I sat in his office and cried for him to let me play my senior season and he said No. Well my journey is dedicated to him. Even though I was put off the team I stayed in school and graduated with my bachelors degree in sports management in 2014. I also had a D-League tryout for the Dallas Mavericks which I did very well and pretty much scored more points than anyone else there but basically was told Even though I can score very well, the team wasn’t looking for a 5’11 shooting guard at the moment. So I worked an overnight job for about a year until finally I just decided to move to Germany in 2016 because my mom was living there for about 4 years. So I moved to Germany to chase my dreams of being a professional basketball player and here we are 4 years later. I would say I made a great decision”, warned Jeremy Ingram. Even though annoying obstacles tried to end his career in school, he never gave up and is still grinding to get to the top.
Last season his fourth professional season with VfL Bensheim (Germany-2.Regionalliga) was interrupted by COVID-19 and instead of going home right away, he had to hang out in Germany longer than what he may have liked to. Like so many other players around the globe, he had to face the challenges of day to day life. “Because of Covid I didn’t go home until June. And I only stayed for a few weeks because training started for me here in Germany around the first week in August so I had to come right back. Most of the time I was in Atlanta while I was back home and there wasn’t many restraints honestly. The people there don’t take Covid as serious as we do here in Germany”, commented Jeremy Ingram. Finding a place to work out at times was as difficult for players as it is answering the much talked about debate between who is the best of all-time Jordan or Lebron. But then again, Ingram doesn´t even see those 2 legends as the GOAT. “I think Kobe Bean Bryant is the best player ever. PERIOD! Not up for discussion”, warned Jeremy Ingram. A guy like Virgil Matthews of the Niners Chemnitz went back to Germany a few months earlier to get the freedom of training, because there was absolutely nothing available in Seattle, some guys traveled thousands of miles in the States to find places to keep in shape while ex Dallas Maverick Gal Mekel who was stranded in Malaga, Spain ran and dribbled the ball in his apartment underground parking lot. It wasn´t any different for Ingram who also had to become creative and find ways to train. “When Covid first started it was very difficult to find places to workout because all the gyms were closed. I would play on outside courts , lift weights that I have at my house and do a lot of Running, but it still wasn’t the same as being in the gyms. So eventually, I just used all the free time I couldn’t be in the gym to give my body the rest it needs to get through a long upcoming season”, stated Jeremy Ingram. Even if COVID-19 has been a very tough time for the world, everybody has learned from it in some ways including Ingram who also got closer to kids. “Covid taught me , as well as the whole world that we should stop taking so many things for granted, because it can be taken from you at any moment. Covid also showed me that staying at home with kids all day, Everyday will drive you crazy! But I think all in all , the world was getting out of control and there was way too much going on so Covid maybe brought us back to a harsh reality”, warned Jeremy Ingram.
Ingram who says his game is a mix between guys like Kobe Bryant, James Harden and Steph Curry was born in 1991 in Madison, Alabama and began his basketball career at Lawson State and then went to Enterprise State Community College (JUCO). Basketball wise JUCO often helps players make the next step, but for the American it actually helped more in the classroom. “. I had a pretty good season there which helped me transfer to Division 1 basketball the next year. But To be honest there was not much positivity that came from there except I got a free education and made life-long friends that I still communicate with even today”, remembers Jeremy Ingram. He then transferred to Alabama A&M University (NCAA) as a junior playing 22 games averaging 5.5ppg, 1.1rpg, FGP: 32.8%, 3PT: 35.8%, FT: 58.8%. At first glance, his scoring stats won´t excite anyone, but not playing consistently and getting the minutes you should will always put the stats in the dumpster. “Well my statistics don’t really show me any justice because some games I would lead the team in scoring and then next games wouldn’t even get in. Which made my average a lot lower than it should be. But all in all Í´m happy for the opportunity to play Division 1 basketball and flying all over the country to the games was pretty dope and I really enjoyed that”, said Jeremy Ingram. He showed that he could mix it up against current NBA players Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr who back then played for Michigan(NCAA) and now for the Dallas Mavericks as he scored 14 points while Burke added 19 points and Hardaway 13 points in a 30 point blowout loss. He will never forget playing against them, but knows that had he played the minutes that they would have had which was double his, then his scoring out put most likely would have doubled their output. “Every time I watch the Dallas Mavericks play and I see those 2 of course I always think back to playing them but I don’t think about them too much . They played for a great Michigan program and had successful careers which led them to the NBA. I didn’t have it as easy as those guys did so I try not to stress it so much. I never felt like any of those big names was better than me . I scored 14 points but if I played the same amount of minutes that they did I probably end up with 30. I was really on fire that game but my coach didn’t really let me play until the 2nd half of that game”, stressed Jeremy Ingram.
The American who also lists Glen Rice Jr as one of his toughest covers in the NCAA began his basketball career in 2016 in Germany with Speyer (Germany-Oberliga). Coming from the United States is often a total culture shock for Americans, but for Ingram it was more on the court things that woke him up to being a rookie in Germany. “Well my 1st season in Germany I didn’t get a lot of foul calls that I deserved I guess because I was much better and faster than everyone so it got frustrating at times. I really struggled with adjusting to German food also”, remembers Jeremy Ingram. In his second professional season he moved to SG Mannheim (Germany-2.Regionalliga) playing 23 games averaging 18.7ppg. He helped the club to a Regionalliga 2 title. Often when a team is having a lot of success, you get extremely tight with your teammates and that is exactly what happened with the American who will never forget that Mannheim season. “I think my fondest moment was when it snowed that season on 1 of our away games , We had a big team snowball fight. We even hit the coaches with snowballs. I was cool with all my teammates that season but Our Captain, Martin was really my guy. I stayed the night at his house in Mannheim nights before games because I lived an hour away. He always woke me up with breakfast, he was almost like my wife. He was a great guy and a great teammate”, added Jeremy Ingram. He also demonstrated with his stellar play that he needed no real adjustment period moving up a level. “There was nothing challenging about moving up playing with Mannheim. I was well prepared for the level of play. The thing that was challenging was getting my coach and teammates to accept my style of play. Because the beginning of the season I had to hold back in order to make the team happy. But eventually we all got on the same page and end up sweeping through the league easily, 24-2”, expressed Jeremy Ingram. In his third professional season he moved to TV Idstein (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and did the trick again winning a chip helping them move up to the Regionalliga. The American felt something special when he arrived in Idstein and success was something that seemed programed that season. “The thing I liked about the TV Idstein team the most in 2018 is that we all came into the season with 1 goal. When I signed the contract that season it was understood we all wanted nothing less than a championship. Anything less would have been a failed season for us. The championship was determined all the way to the last game of the season .. and we were down that game and I remember scoring like 10 points straight to give us the lead and ultimately help us win that championship game. That feeling after the game actually brought tears to my eyes Because if I didn’t play as good as I did, we lose that game”, stressed Jeremy Ingram.
Last Season he played for VfL Bensheim (Germany-2.Regionalliga) and this season has brought his winning mentality back to TV Idstein and is ready for a second round of winning that next title. The American who lists Kobe Bryant Michael Jordan Lebron James and Stephen Curry on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore has helped TV Idstein to a 2-0 record so far this season. He is very confident that this is also a special team and they have a very strong core of players this season. This is the American´s 5th professional season of playing for peanuts, but the love of the game and winning titles outweighs the negatives about not earning that much money. “Winning the championship definitely makes it all worth it at the end. But the teams I have played for has showed me so much love and they made sure I was well taken care of and had everything I needed. I´m grateful for the opportunities”, warned Jeremy Ingram. Even if the pay hasn´t been good, the organizations that he has played for in Germany have been good to him and just the standard of living has been high. Combining all those things has effected his game in a positive way and helped him grow in the last 4 years as a player “Germany has a been a great experience for me. I feel like it was the perfect place to start my career. I have learned a different style of basketball. For example, in America basketball is based of 1 on 1 style of playing where as in Europe, its based on a lot of screen and rolls . Also in Europe I´ve seen guys who aren’t the most athletic and not the fastest on the court still be effective! So I´ve learned a whole different method of the game that I feel can help my career last a lot longer. I feel like I get better every year no matter what league I play in because I work hard ,I´m always working on something new to add to my game, and I´m always studying the game of basketball”, added Jeremy Ingram.
When you watch Ingram on the floor in small school gyms playing the game he loves for a living, you see a very crafty and a quick guard who offensively can aid a team with explosive scoring, will put scoring on the back burner and find his teammates when needed and will grab a rebound and get out on transition with lightening speed. He excels with his mid range game, but can also nail the three pointer when needed On the defensive end, he is a very disciplined defender who can get into the passing lanes and create disruption against his man. He doesn´t hesitate from finding the absolute best players when comparing his game to NBA players. “I say my game is a mixture of a few different players. I grew up watching my favorite player , Kobe Bryant, so if you watch my game close you will notice my mid range game and mid range pullup comes from him. I study his footwork. Even when I post-up guards my size I use his footwork and most definitely his back to the basket fadeaways. Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden is who I take after in todays game. Shooting mechanics like Curry, dribbling and crossovers like Irving, and step back 3s like Harden”, warned Jeremy Ingram. To be a top scoring player in the Regionalliga, you can´t be one dimensional, but be versatile. He takes a lot of pride in his mid range game the same way Saalouis legend Ricky Easterling does. “I feel like I have many strengths on the court. Obviously scoring being my biggest strength. But I feel my midrange game is what separates me from other Americans in my league. Because my players these days only look for layups or 3 pointers. Midrange is very important to me”, stressed Jeremy Ingram. His attitude is also excellent as he never gets content with his game as he knows, if he wants to keep climbing the basketball ladder, he will have to continue to grind in the lab to get better. “I´m working on my game as hard as I did when I was 18. And I will keep working on my game until I´m at the level I deserve to be at. 30 isn´t nothing but a number, THE GRIND DON’T STOP ! I work on everything , dribbling, shooting, defense . I feel like you can always get better no matter what age you’re at, commented Jeremy Ingram. Another big strength is his character. Like so many other Americans that dominate the Regionalliga, he is way to good for the league and should be a higher level. He proved in the NCAA that he can compete and stick with future NBA players which has created that massive chip on his shoulders. A very very important fact that many players don´t always get right away is that the whole basketball experience and where you are and why is due to the process. “I honestly played great against the big teams like Michigan and Georgia Tech but only played 1 half of those games. I was way too fast for those bigger colleges and I could shoot from NBA range which is why I always led the team in scoring against the bigger schools where I actually got in the game. I could lead the team in scoring 1 game and not even get in the next game after that. It was just Madness, but my coach never wanted to give me the proper respect and the proper chance to showcase my talents that I deserved. Every time I got in I played great. Everybody knew I was a problem on the court, but in life you run into people who try to hold you back or try their hardest for you not to be great. And this was just 1 of those situations. Honestly, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder my whole life. I’ve always been told I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t tall enough, I could never play college, I was too cocky , I could never play professional basketball. But look at me everything they said I couldn’t do, I did and I´m still doing. So yes there´s a chip on my shoulder because I know my talent level deserves for me to be playing in higher leagues but its ok because I always had to work extra to get anything I wanted in life. It’s just part of the process! I will get to where I want to be if I just keep working hard like I’ve been doing my whole life”, warned Jeremy Ingram. One thing the friendly American won´t have to worry about is playing one half and sitting the next. If TV Idstein want to compete for the Regionalliga South East title this season, they will need Ingram on the floor each quarter. Ingram´s desire, focus and grind will help him achieve his and TV Idstein´s goals. He proved once before with TV Idstein that he can win it all, so why not a second time?