Newcomer Aussie Ingles Shows his Stuff

Newcomer Aussie Ingles Shows his Stuff
Sep 28, 2006, 01:13 am
The National Basketball League (NBL) in Australia kicked off this past week, and with it, we found an intriguing showing from an 18 year old local kid playing his first ever professional game. Joe Ingles, a 6-8 small forward who plays for the Melbourne based South Dragons, announced his presence to the basketball world with an impressive 29 point showing in a 112-106 loss to the New Zealand Breakers.

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology, DraftExpress quickly acquired a copy of this surprisingly high-quality game. On first glance, it appears that NBA scouts traveling to Australia this season to keep tabs on the improvement of automatically-eligible 1984 born prospect Brad Newley might want to extend their stay for a few more days to make sure they get a look at Ingles.


The long and incredibly lanky Aussie small forward looked like anything but a teenager in his professional debut, making big plays for his team throughout the game and impressing especially with the excellent fundamentals, maturity and feel for the game he showed. His range appears to extend well beyond the International 3-point line, and he possesses a sweet looking stroke with good elevation off the floor. Standing a solid 6-8, he used that repeatedly without hesitation to punish New Zealand’s sagging perimeter defense, knocking down 4 of the 5 three-pointers he attempted and 11 of 15 shots overall.

Ingles is a smooth lefty that isn’t afraid to use the threat of his shot to put the ball on the floor and make his way into the paint, although he lacks the strength and explosiveness to get all the way to the basket and finish with authority in traffic. He has solid ball-handling skills with either hand, and the toughness and aggressiveness to deal with most anything that comes his way, but his lack of a great first step limits him a bit as far as his potential is concerned.

To counter this problem, he appears to be developing a good looking mid-range game, and he indeed stopped and pulled up on a number of occasions for a lefty jumper right before the defense could react. He also showed excellent court vision on similar occasions, making heady passes to open teammates and showing a very nice understanding of his team’s ball-movement. Ingles wasn’t shy about going down low to help out on the boards either, pulling down 7 on the night.

On the flip side, Ingles will have to continue to grow into his frame and add strength to his lower body in particular. He lacks some bulk and had a tough time dealing with the physicality of New Zealand’s extremely strong and athletic forward duo Brian Weathers and Carlos Powell. Defensively he will have some to improve his lateral quickness if he’s to have a future at higher professional levels playing exclusively on the perimeter.

If you’re looking for a comparison to sink your teeth in, think about Steve Novak of Marquette and the Houston Rockets. To really make this comparison more realistic, though, Ingles will have to improve the quickness of his shot release. It certainly isn’t bad, but it’s still a bit more deliberate than most NBA scouts would hope for when we’re talking about a potential specialist who is already just an average athlete at best.

Spending two years at the renowned Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), Ingles looks like a very well coached young prospect who will regardless surely become a key component of the Australian National Team when it’s all said and done. In the meantime, Ingles is penciled--in our notes at least—as one of the players we’ll be keeping close tabs on as the U-19 World Championships in Vancouver this upcoming summer approaches.

Australia will represented there, as will a team of American NCAA stars, along with France, Spain, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Serbia & Montenegro, Brazil, Argentina, Lithuania, Nigeria, Canada, Mali, and 3 teams from Asia.

Returning to the New Zealand Breakers- South Dragons game conducted on Tuesday, there are a few notable things to point out. Ingles’ team is coached by none other than the great Mark Price, one of the great NBA point guards of the late 80’s/early 90’s, if not of all time. In the post we saw an bruising old-school big man matchup featuring former NBA lottery pick Todd Fuller (#11 overall pick in the 1996 draft) and 2nd round pick Ben Pepper (#56 overall pick in the 1997 draft). On the sidelines we found former San Antonio Spur and Minnesota Timberwolf Shane Heal, injured for this particular outing, but still active it appears.

More interesting as far as we’re concerned, though, was the New Zealand Breakers’ leading scorer, Carlos Powell, who basically willed his team to victory with a 34 point (14/19 FG), 11 rebound effort. Only recently having turned 23 years old, Powell’s best days are clearly still ahead of him. He’s a player we very much enjoyed watching at South Carolina two years ago, as well as at Portsmouth, the NBA Pre-draft camp, and even at a private workout we attended alongside Ryan Gomes, Brandon Rush and Matt Walsh.


Powell seems to be making very steady progress as a basketball player, and it’s not at all out of the question that he’ll follow in the footsteps of New Zealand’s import from last year Rich Melzer and land himself an NBA contract.

In this game he was absolutely electric off the dribble, creating his own shot at will thanks to his terrific first step and finishing powerfully with a series of quick spin moves and dunks. After playing for their Summer League team in Long Beach, Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Jerry West told us this not too long ago that his organization very much likes Powell, but that he “would like to see him expand his game a bit and become more versatile beyond just his scoring.” Powell seems to be doing just that, as he was a bundle of energy the entire game and did virtually everything his team could have asked of him. He made some excellent passes (3 assists), used his 6-11 wingspan to get his hands on a ton of balls (11 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals), drew plenty of fouls and was incredibly active for every second he was on the court. And of course the crowd absolutely loved him for it. If Powell can somehow find himself a legit 3-point shot, he’s definitely got a chance to land on someone’s roster eventually. In this game he missed both of his two 3-point attempts and only converted 6 of 12 foul shots.

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