Once Tony Ingle became Dalton State College’s new men’s basketball coach, the next step was to find some players.
The first addition is no stranger to the coach.
Ladaris Green is the first athlete to sign with the school in its new era of intercollegiate competition, and he’ll help Roadrunners basketball when it launches in the 2013-2014 season. School officials announced the signing Thursday via a media release and said Green is currently a part-time student but will be full time next spring. He received a full athletic scholarship and has two years of eligibility left.
Ingle envisions being able to us Green — a 6-foot-10-inch Savannah native who played at Beach High — at a number of positions thanks to his size and “athletic IQ.” His natural position will be at power forward, but where he sees the most time will come down to who else is on the roster.
“I run some offensive sets where the (shooting guard) and (small forward) are interchangeable and other sets where the (small forward) and (power forward) are,” Ingle said. “He helps our cause by being on the floor.”
The pair are accustomed to one another from their Kennesaw State University days.
As a sophomore, Green averaged 9.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per game and was near the top of the Atlantic Sun Conference ranks with 54 blocks. In Kennesaw State’s 80-63 win against Georgia Tech two years ago, Green scored 19 points and nabbed 12 rebounds in 38 minutes on the court.
Ingle — a Dalton native and North Whitfield High graduate who played basketball at Dalton Junior College — won an NCAA Division II national championship at Kennesaw State in 2004. He coached the program through its transition to Division I before being fired at the end of the 2011 season.
The first time Ingle heard of Green was from the player’s high school basketball coach, Russ Ellington.
“He was a legendary coach in the state of Georgia, won over 900 games and used to be the head coach with the Harlem Globetrotters,” Ingle said. “He also was a head coach at Morris Brown College and won some state championships at Beach High. I’ve known Russ a long time and Russ was talking to me about him and invited me to see him. I obviously fell in love with him.”
For Green, partnering up with his old coach in a new location was a plus.
“It is an honor to be coach Ingle’s first signee here at Dalton State,” Green said in the release. “He is the major reason I am here, and I have great respect for him and am excited about being part of the Roadrunner basketball team.”
This is the first of potentially many basketball signings in preparation for next year. The Roadrunners can sign recruits at any time during the year due to the NAIA, in which the Roadrunners will compete, not having an organized signing period like the NCAA.
“Everyone is playing right now, so to sign kids this time of year is unheard of from what I’ve been used to,” Ingle said. “The majority of our players we’ll sign in the spring. All the seasons are over (then) and kids are making their decisions. If you can slip in there and sign kids along the way, then I’m hustling.”
However, Ingle believes this signing will help make things easier in the long run.
“Who wouldn’t want to play with a 6-10 guy?” Ingle asked rhetorically. “He’s so unselfish and such a team player.”
Green also believes other players will follow his path and join the Roadrunners.
“I want to be a role model for future student-athletes, both athletically and academically,” he said in the release. “My reception around campus has been incredible. From everything I have seen out of the athletic department, this whole situation is going to be extremely special and something that tons of players will want to be a part of, in all sports.”