BY JOE SMITH
Daily Sports Editor
Published February 6, 2002
It"s not that Michigan coach Tommy Amaker isn"t pleased with Dommanic Ingerson"s numbers in his first 19 games at the collegiate level. In fact, Amaker admits that Ingerson has "done a hell of a job for a first-year kid" even better than the new coach expected coming in.
But Amaker said he was disappointed with Ingerson"s play at the end of the Michigan State game, when even though the game was out of reach, Ingerson"s body language and lack of effort was "disturbing." Amaker wants to build a program, and how players carry themselves matters a lot.
"There are times that we show our kids it doesn"t matter what the score is, or how much time is left," Amaker said. "If there"s time on the clock, there"s a certain way we play.
"I was disappointed in that he didn"t uphold to that."
So that"s why Ingerson didn"t even tear off his warm-ups during the first half of the Wisconsin game the second time Amaker has benched Ingerson for a half this season because he didn"t like his effort. Tougher competition and a shooting slump have also kept Ingerson on the bench for much of the Big Ten season.
Sometimes after games, it seems as though Ingerson doesn"t know why he didn"t make it off the bench, but he"s starting to understand how tough the collegiate game is.
"You aren"t babied anymore, and the coaches aren"t always going to come up to you and tell you what"s going bad," Ingerson said. "You have to find it within yourself."
The sharpshooter has always been a star, a player who wants the ball in his hands. Throughout his prep career, and even early on in his freshman campaign, he proved why.
In his first nine games, Ingerson was one of Amaker"s go-to guys, as the freshman played more than 20 minutes per game and ranked second on the team in scoring with 13 points per outing.
He even shot a scorching 60 percent from behind the arc.
But then came Big Ten play, which hasn"t been too friendly to the 18-year- old from the San Francisco Bay Area.
"It"s tough," Ingerson said. "But I just have to be tougher. I have a lot of pride in my game, but I need to prepare more defensively and stay focused at all times."
Ingerson has struggled and has seen his minutes dwindle in the nine conference games. In those games, he"s averaging just 4.8 points in 12 minutes off the bench. Worst of all for Ingerson, he"s knocking down less than 30 percent of his shots from the field and behind the arc which coaches say could have an effect on other areas.
"When you have success on offense it usually picks them up on the other end," Michigan assistant coach Charles Ramsey said. Ingerson "has to learn that the great players no matter what they"re doing on offense play both ends of the floor."
Simply stated by Amaker: "For a young kid like Dom, he has to learn that we"re not just shooting, we"re playing basketball."
Ramsey has known Ingerson for a while as an assistant coach at California, he recruited the highly touted prospect. Ramsey said that for an 18-year-old kid, Ingerson has grown by "leaps and bounds."
"He"s really working at it," Ramsey said. "From a mental standpoint, you can"t have those same lapses that you have with preseason opponents. The margin for error is not there if you make mistakes, those lead to runs. You have to play every play, every minute, every second or you get burned."
Ingerson knows that since he"s still learning, solid communication and a good relationship with the coaching staff is a must.
"The most important thing is communicating with the coaches on and off the court," Ingerson said. "If I had a real good relationship with the coaches, then things would be better off."