After 10 years, former Springer Andre Ingram makes the most of his NBA debut

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LOS ANGELES -- After 10 years in the NBA's minor league, former Highland Springs standout Andre Ingram finally made his NBA debut Tuesday night with the Lakers.

And made everyone who saw him wonder what took the team so long to call him up.

Ingram scored 19 points, the fourth best debut in Lakers history and blocked three shots in an otherwise meaningless loss to the Rockets. His team isn't going anywhere after the season, but Ingram's stock could be on the rise at the tender age of 32.

"I just felt some electricity out there," Ingram said after being presented with a game ball by head coach Luke Walton. "It was amazing being here with the crowd and the lights. It was a once in a lifetime thing."

While Ingram's performance may have surprised many inside the Staples Center, it should not have.

He is the all-time leader in 3 pointers made in what is now called the NBA's G-league, having spent a decade waiting for the opportunity that he admittedly thought might never come.

Ingram played his college ball at American University for Jeff Jones where he was the first recruit for a young assistant coach named Ryan Odom, who himself had a once in a lifetime moment in the NCAA tournament as head coach of Maryland-Baltimore County.

But his talent was first noticed by former Highland Springs head coach George Lancaster who has known Ingram since he was 8, and who led Ingram and the Springers to the 2003 VHSL AAA state basketball title.

"He is not your run of the mill athlete," said Lancaster. "He's a wonderful and humble individual. He's the type of guy you're going to root for at every stop."

Lancaster repeatedly brought up Ingram's academic prowess which has mirrored his athletic talent. He was a physics major at American and in the off-season teaches math and science.

"We know what his capabilities are" Lancaster said. "He just needed an opportunity to shine".

Ingram got that chance for the final two games of the regular season. He was brought in for what he thought was a season ending exit interview earlier this week, only to be told his season wasn't quite over just yet.

Once in the game, Ingram made his first four shots and earned the respect of just about the entire league.

However, back in Virginia, his old coach wasn't nearly as surprised as he was happy for the player he called one of the best he ever had at Highland Springs.

"As his coach, I've seen Andre Ingram get hot," Lancaster said.  "I'm sure the NBA and the Lakers have plans for Andre Ingram. I think his basketball playing is just a sidebar of greater things to come."

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