Tom Ingham has put the Nelson Giants ahead of his career this NBL season.
The former Waimea College pupil has turned down a full time teaching role at Nelson Intermediate to remain part-time and focus on his basketball.
It’s the type of commitment the Mike Pero Nelson Giants need, given they sit at the bottom of the ladder despite a victory against the Taranaki Mountainairs on Sunday.
Win No 1 for the season will give them some confidence as they travel to Christchurch to face the Canterbury Rams on Friday night.
“We have to stay together during these tough times,” he says. “If we keep working hard at training the results will come.”
Tom will start full time at Nelson Intermediate once the season finishes in May.
He says it was a chance to back himself and chase his passion.
“While I’m still young, while I’m still improving and while I can still move well, why not pursue this and see how far I can go.”
Tom is also a handy cricketer, having scored a ton in the extended Nelson senior cricket final before earlier this season for Waimea Toi Toi.
While his family has strong links with cricket, it was a Nelson Giants skills session that turned him on to basketball.
“I went to a clinic at primary school that was run by the Giants and I fell in love with it straight away.”
Tom says American import Darnell McCulloch, who played several seasons for the Giants in the early 2000s, was someone he admired as a kid.”
“My parents always put the ball in my hand regardless of what sport it was… My dad was a good cricketer but basketball has always been big for me.”
Tom says his biggest mentors have been former Tall Black and Giants big man Ed Book and his late High School coach Greg Wright.
Tom says he wants to be a contributor to the Giants and help his teammates pull the side out of this early season slump.