On Dec. 19, senior point guard Ke’Shawn Ingram joined a pretty exclusive club: boys basketball players from Steinbrenner High School who have scored 1,000 points or more in their careers.
In fact, it’s so exclusive that he’s the only member.
Ingram reached that mark by scoring 25 points in a home game against Sickles. And while the end result was a 69-55 loss for the Warriors, who are going through a challenging season at 6-11 (3-4 in district play), that milestone is a definite bright spot for the program.
But the player who set a new standard for boys basketball excellence at Steinbrenner isn’t doing much celebrating. The team’s lack of wins weighs more on his mind than his personal accomplishment.
“Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I’m proud of myself, but it’s not my first concern,” Ingram said about setting the mark. “The main goal is for my team to go as far as we can.”
The Warriors are having no problem scoring points: With Ingram’s help, they lead their district in points favored by a comfortable margin. In fact, the next closest team is more than 150 points back.
Defense, however, has been a problem, as they also have the most points against — also more than 150 points ahead of the second-worst mark in Class 7A-District 8. Ingram acknowledges the defensive issues and says the team is working on techniques to improve for the rest of the season.
If it seems unusual that a high-scoring senior is more worried about team defense than his personal offensive records, it might be because Ke’Shawn Ingram is an unusual athlete. His 6-foot-1, 165-pound frame is well-suited to sports, but his 3.66 GPA shows that his focus is on more than racking up points on the court.
“School always comes first for me,” Ingram explained. If the team doesn’t have practice after school, homework is at the top of his agenda once he gets home, with extra basketball work coming later in the evening. His goal is to play college basketball (he hasn’t chosen a school yet, but would prefer to stay in the south) and study sports marketing, eventually working with a professional basketball team.
His coach, Reggie Anderson, believes Ingram has the ability to find employment with a basketball team, but not just in an office job. Maybe to actually hit the court.
“He does have that potential,” Anderson said. “He’s going to have to go to college and get bigger and stronger. But he has the natural tools, and definitely would have the opportunity to play at that level.”
Anderson isn’t just a proud local coach boasting about a star player. While this is his first year at Steinbrenner, he has 18 years of coaching experience. During that time, Anderson has coached a number of players who have advanced to the NBA, including current Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Jodie Meeks.
He said that Ingram shares many qualities that his best players have, even beyond sheer talent and ability to score points. They all have humility, a strong work ethic and a desire to always get better, and he believes those qualities are the ones that will help Ingram succeed.
“He’s a much better person off the court than he is a player on the court,” Anderson said. “He’s the total package.”
For now, Ingram will continue to focus more on team goals than personal accomplishments, even though he’s already extended his school-best record to beyond 1,100 points. He said that his best friends are on the team, and they didn’t even discuss getting 1,000 points before the game in which he set the mark.
And, just as Anderson indicated, Ingram will keep trying to get better both on and off the court. He said that achieving success in class has similarities to success in basketball.
“I would say you have to be focused and persistent,” Ingram said. “You have to keep at it. If you’re not understanding something, you can ask for help; just like on the court, you can ask for help from your teammates.”