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Neumann-Goretti is Back, Led by Ings


Junior favors focus on the current season

 

(Photos Left to Right) Neuman-Goretti's Noah Warren (#4) seeks to block Archbishop Wood's Andrew Funk (#11) in a failed last-ditch three-point shot. (right) Neumann-Goretti's Chris Ing (#0) defends the Saints lead in the final seconds of the game. Photos by Sarah J. Glover.

 

Chris Ings remembers the day he realized that he wanted to play high school basketball for Neumann-Goretti. “I was in middle school and my dad told me to watch Neumann play Chester at Widener at the [Pete and Jameer Nelson Classic]; while Ja’ Quan Newton and Troy Harper were seniors and Quade Green was a freshman. I remember Troy threw the ball between a player’s leg on a fast break, passed to Ja’ Quan and he threw an alley-oop to the big man and he dunked it and I was like, ‘Yeah, this is where I am going to play high school basketball.’”

 

Ings learned quickly that such prowess doesn’t come easy. Neumann’s Coach Carl Arrigale has won 12 Catholic League titles and 8 state titles for a reason. “Playing for Neumann is a lot of hard work,” said Ings, a talented 6’3” junior who is attracting interest from Division I colleges nationwide. He is averaging 17 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the 12-4 Saints. “It looks like all fun and games from the outside, but when we are on the court, we put a lot of hours in the gym to play the way we do. We always play top competition before we come home for league play to give us a leg up on the other schools in the Philadelphia Catholic League. [Neumann is scheduled to play Plymouth Whitemarsh, the area’s only undefeated team on February 3rd.].

 

Neumann has shaken off a rough start — the team dropped its opener versus Shipley — to win 12 of 15 games against top completion locally, in its league and across the country. The Saints lost two games at a prestigious event in North Carolina in December. Now, the team is clicking and has suffered only one recent loss, a close one to Bonner-Prendergast, another standout team in the PCL vying for a chip this year. “I think me and my team are playing great right now,” he said. “We are definitely using the things we are going over in practice and we are moving forward as we are trying to get back to the PCL Championship. My personal goal is to be the league MVP this year but the team goal comes before that, and our goal is simply to win. It’s the Neumann way. Our goal is to go three for three. We want to win the PCL, then the city championship, then the PIAA 3A state championship.”

 

It is especially important to Ings and his teammates because pundits expected little from the Saints after having graduated two major players to Kentucky (Green) and Villanova (Dahmir Cosby-Roundtree). “We are trying to show the city that we are still a force after Quade and Big Da Da left,” he mentioned. “We were all counted out in almost all preseason rankings — the Saints were actually ranked third in LCP’s pre-season rankings — and that hit home. We use that as motivation to show the city game in and out. Tradition never graduates are words that we live by at Neumann.”

 

Ings isn’t lacking for confidence and that’s a good thing, since he has had to face off against stars like Lynn Greer (Roman), Isaiah Wong (Bonner), Tyree Pickron (Wood), and Justin Anderson (Archbishop Carroll) just to name a few. He was looking forward to being guarded by Ahmin and Ahmad Williams in the Plymouth Whitemarsh game as well. “I go into every game thinking I am 10 times better than all my opponents, and then I go out and try to make sure the whole gym knows who I am by the end of the game.” 

Pre-game ritual? “I use music to help me get ready. I like to block out the noise and everything outside of the game that I’m about to play. I’ll usually receive a text from my uncle before the game with inspirational words. I stretch before the game and run around dribbling to warm my hands up before I come out to the locker room. And I like to be the last one out of the locker room to take the court. I don’t know why I do that but it just changes the atmosphere for me in a positive way.” He also receives inspirational texts from Paul Gripper, a long time AAU coach and mentor.

Ings said he also learned quickly that Neumann is not only about scoring offensively with highlight passes and dunks. “In practice, coach Carl [Arrigale] stressed defense ever since I came to Neumann. And my freshman year, I learned it was an unspoken rule that you can’t play unless you play defense. That has been the key for me to get on the court at a young age. I knew I had to be a lockdown defender and that was my main focus, and I see it coming full circle now, as all of my defensive hard work seems to be paying off this year. Coach also stresses ball movement and “next man up” where if someone is having an off night you have to be ready to step up and carry the load while they get back on their feet.” Many coaches will tell you that this concept as well as transition defense, where players pick up other players’ men, are similar keys to success.

 

The question Ings gets often now is about his college choices. He isn’t avoiding the inquiries. He just hasn’t got that far along the recruiting trail. “I don’t have a college list yet,” he said. Ings does have three official offers: La Salle, Mt. St. Mary’s and StonyBrook, while he is receiving interest from St. Joseph’s, Temple, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut among others. His head coach Carl Arrigale thinks he will be flooded with offers over the summer.

 

“My goal is to work as hard as I possibly can and become the best player I can be and that the right college will come find me,” he said. “I was told if you ever went swimming and stayed underwater and stayed there for a point where you can barley breathe but something was holding you back, all you could do or think about was to try and get air now. That concept relates to, if I work that hard as I do to try and breathe when I play in basketball games, then I’ll be successful. I have to want it more than I want anything else and that’s how I have approached it, so, for now I am just waiting for the right college to come.” 

 

Ings said his teammates know that the Catholic League is top-to-bottom as strong as it ever has been. He thinks what separates his Saints will be its defensive intensity. “When we can keep a team under 60 points we usually win, so that’s what we can do to set us apart, I think, from the rest of the league. It’s been quite an exciting experience so far and I’m sure it will get more intense and fun in February and March.”

 

 

Neumann-Goretti is Back, Led by Ings
Jeremy Treatman - Contributor

Jeremy Treatman is the founder and co-director of the Scholastic Play-by-Play Classics and Sports Broadcasting Camps. Over 50 NBA players, including Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Rajon Rondo played in his events when they were in high school. Jeremy wrote high school sports for the INQUIRER for 10 years, and was the first TV reporter for the HIgh School Sports Show on Channel 29 from 1994-2001. He currently is Comcast's announcer for all high school games.

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