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Former MCHS Bulldog becoming UGA Dawg

April 16, 2021 - 01:00
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Ingram makes announcement after entering transfer portal

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    Jailyn Ingram slams home an alley-oop in a November 2015 MCHS game in which he scored 23 points. T. MICHAEL STONE/Staff

A couple of weeks ago, former Morgan County basketball standout Jailyn Ingram put his name into the NCAA student transfer portal after spending the past five years at Florida Atlantic University, not knowing where his next destination would be.

This past weekend, Ingram announced on his personal Twitter that he will be transferring to the University of Georgia, which is about a 30-minute drive up Highway 441 from Madison.

“I had no idea what was going to happen at first when I put my name in the portal,” Ingram told the Lake Oconee News. “It just ended up being Georgia, which is great because all of my friends and family live so close.”

Ingram added that he’s excited that now his loved ones will be able to come to see his games more often.

“It was hard for me to have people come to my games while I was at FAU because it was nine hours away from home,” he said. “Now, I am looking forward to seeing people from Madison coming to see me play.”

Ingram signed with the Owls out of high school in 2016. During his time spent in Boca Raton, he was a 1,000-point scorer as he averaged 10.6 points per game. Ingram also averaged 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest. Last season, he averaged 12.4 points and six rebounds per game, while shooting 45. 2 percent from beyond the arc.

Ingram admitted that he enjoyed his time at FAU and will miss the people who gave him the opportunity to play college basketball.

“I’m glad I chose FAU out of high school,” Ingram said. “My former head coach Charlemagne (Gibbons) from Morgan County accepted an assistant coaching job there and a high school teammate of mine committed there. So, it was a pretty easy decision to make.”

Ingram was a part of Morgan County’s firstever state championship as a sophomore in 2014. The next year, the Bulldogs lost 62-60 in the state finals to Jenkins High during his junior year. As a senior, Ingram and the Bulldogs avenged the previous year’s loss to Jenkins and beat them 66-56 to win another state title in 2016.

“I can’t believe those two state championships were so long ago,” Ingram said. “But, it’s good to be back in the area where those memories happened.”

The upcoming 2021-22 season will be Ingram’s sixth of his collegiate career, which he elected to take advantage of the NCAA’s free year due to COVID-19. In 2018-19, he received a medical redshirt due to a seasonending ACL tear. In those 10 games he played in during his junior year, Ingram averaged 18.9 points per game, which was the highest of his career.

This past season, Georgia finished the season with a 14-12 overall record while failing to make it to the NCAA tournament. In the past three seasons under head coach Tom Crean, the Bulldogs have gone 41-49 overall and 14-40 in conference play. Crean, who formerly coached at Marquette and Indiana, was brought in to turn the program around. Headed into his fourth year at UGA, Crean is hoping to finally be able to reach the NCAA Tournament.

“I feel like I can make a real difference on the court,” Ingram said. “Coach Crean and I have talked over the last two weeks and he told me I would be a great fit. I feel like we are turning over a new leaf and getting the right pieces we need.”

Ingram added that Crean wants to elevate his game to a new level.

“He told me he can sharpen up my shooting ability a little more,” Ingram said. “There’s also making quick decisions with the ball, getting me to slow things down and see things from a different viewpoint. He and the training staff said they could help me be more athletic and become a high riser like I used to be.”

Ingram is the fifth graduate transfer Crean has signed since coming to UGA and second this offseason. Last year, Crean brought in three graduate transfers to help turn around the program, but Ingram brings in a different dynamic than the others. His 6-foot-7, 220-pound stature provides the Bulldogs with a lot of athleticism.

Ingram started in 105 games at FAU while scoring 1,334 career points and grabbing 630 rebounds. His 3-point shooting capabilities can help a UGA team that struggled as it finished ranked No. 238 nationally in that stat category. Throughout his career, Ingram has maintained a 36 percent mark from beyond the arc.

Ingram has improved his production each season while at FAU, so he could potentially be a weapon for Crean as Georgia tries to replace its second-leading scorer in Toumani Camara. Camara elected to enter to NCAA student-athlete transfer portal following the 2020-21 season. Since the end of the season, Georgia has had four players enter the portal, with two of them being starters.

“It’s going to be great to be a Bulldog again,” Ingram said. “I am super excited for this opportunity being able to get back home.”