Charlotte Hornets: Greensboro Swarm gain new faces through G-League Draft

Denzel Ingram dribbles the ball against Duke. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Denzel Ingram dribbles the ball against Duke. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Basketball season is finally here, and the Greensboro Swarm were sure to make some additions to their roster in the 2017-18 G-League Draft.

The Greensboro Swarm made some new additions to their team in the G-League Draft, and the front office bolstered their frontcourt and even signed someone from the Tar Heel State. The Charlotte Hornets‘ G-League affiliate only used three of their four selections as they chose to forego their fourth-round pick. Here is an in-depth look at each of the picks.

Cole Huff, Forward, Creighton

With their first pick in this year’s draft, the Swarm selected Cole Huff, a 6-foot-8 tweener forward from Creighton University. With the pick, the Swarm added a stretch-four with the length necessary to run the floor. Huff, who according to Creighton’s athletic site averaged 11.3 points as a junior and 9.1 as a senior, plays similarly to Tim Thomas or Al Harrington. He’s never afraid to take a contested jump shot.

Huff netted more than 1,000 points during his career with the Blue Jays and had standout performances against Seton Hall (35 points in BIG East tournament) and NC State (20 points, 10 boards, 4-5 from 3PT) during his senior season.

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Though Huff is a tweener, his shooting will help him immensely. He is a lethal spot-up shooter and also great off the pick-and-pop, and he hit 46.3% of his three-point attempts. Huff also converted 83.9% of his free throws and was third on the team in rebounds with 3.9. Though his numbers may not leap off the page, he is a standout both on the perimeter and on post-isolation plays. He is adept at coming off of screens for jumpers as well as scoring in the mid-to-high post areas.

In the highlight tape provided below, it’s clear that Huff has experience in Horns-sets, staggard screens, and flare screens, which are very common in NBA offenses. He also loves to use his turnaround jump shot and a variety of shimmy-moves in the post. While his three-point skills are well-documented, his midrange game will also be something the Swarm can utilize when running a four-around-one offense. He will need to improve as passing out of the post.

Overall, the Swarm will likely use him as a stretch-four on the perimeter and will continue to develop his defense. He is the same height as forward Perry Ellis but is a much better shooter; time will tell to see who will earn more playing time at the forward position.

Daniel Dingle, Forward, Temple

In the second round, Greensboro used their pick on Daniel Dingle, a 6’7 small forward out of Temple University. Dingle averaged 12.6 points and second on the team in rebounding with 4.5 board per contest. He started all 32 games that he played in and is also a three-point marksman. Dingle hit 57 of his 148 three-pointers (38.5%), good for third on the team and 11th in the American Athletic Conference.

Dingle also proved himself to be a valuable passer for the Owls. The small forward averaged 3.5 dimes and totaled 111 assists last season, second on the team behind leading scorer Shizz Alston. Greensboro hopes that he will continue to improve; Dingle boosted his scoring average from 4.4 points as a junior to 12.8 as a senior.

His best games came against non-conference competition, as he notched 22 points against Manhattan and 21 points against La Salle. He showed his abilities as an all-around threat against East Carolina (19 pts, six ast, 3 stl) and UConn (17 pts, six rebs, six asts).

Though Dingle might be the biggest mystery for Swarm fans, his status as an underdog should help him out. He will have the opportunity to learn from small forward Damien Wilkins, a veteran who also proved himself to be an all-around player for the Swarm last year. Hopefully, he will improve as the season goes on, and Greensboro will be more competitive from the three-spot.

Denzel Ingram, Guard, UNC-Wilmington

The player who most fans are excited to see is Denzel Ingram, a guard from nearby UNC-Wilmington. Before suiting up for then-coach Kevin Keatts (now at NC State), Ingram actually played at UNC Charlotte and averaged 6.8 points over his two years there. Charlotte and Greensboro fans should be happy to have him back in the mix.

As a senior, Ingram emerged as a clutch player, as he sank two game-winners, recorded six 20-point scoring games,  and led the team in assists with 4.6 to go with 14.6 points. He and the Seahawks went to two NCAA tournaments under Keatts, and he had 17 points (5-10 3PT FG) against Duke in the 2016 tournament as a junior. His play helped UNCW earn a 29-6 record in 2016-17, and he will definitely bolster the Greensboro backcourt.

As the film demonstrates, Ingram is most comfortable around screens. His ability to read the defense is his greatest asset. Similar to a running back waiting for blocks to develop in football, Ingram likes to wait for the defense to react to the screen. Any time a guard goes under on a screen, he has no problem rising up for a shot; if they go over the top, he dances into the lane, looking to get off his floater, or perhaps throw a lob.

The way Ingram plays in the halfcourt is very similar to Derrick Rose or Chris Paul. Both of those guards are patient off of screens and like to weave around them, thus keeping the defender on their hip and always a step behind. In transition, Ingram never hesitates to look for alley oops or to pull up from deep; his confidence as a shooter makes him tough to guard, and he has unlimited range.

This pick should excite fans the most, and he will challenge Cat Barber, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Marcus Paige, the other main guards the Greensboro has. All four of them played their college basketball in the state of North Carolina, and it will be interesting to see who will get the most playing time.

Barber, Sulaimon, and Paige all spent time with NBA teams during the Summer League this past offseason, and Paige won a title at UNC. Ingram is the most slept on and underrated prospect. However, he is seasoned with college experience and ready to prove he belongs.

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All four guards should certainly be exciting to watch, and Greensboro will look to build on their 19-31 record in their first season last year. With these picks, the Swarm will deepen their bench and look to even out their record to .500. Their first game is November 4 against the Canton Charge in the Greensboro Coliseum Complex Fieldhouse.