Stars to shine: Led by Mr. U.P. Basketball Jonny Ingalls of St. Ignace, Northern Michigan University men’s basketball team gets 4 big scorers

Jonny Ingalls dribbles during a St. Ignace LaSalle High School boys game. (Photo courtesy Jonathan Ingalls X account)

MARQUETTE — The Upper Peninsula’s best boys basketball player as crowned by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association is coming to play at Northern Michigan University.

Jonny Ingalls of St. Ignace headlines a four-member freshmen class, according to a Monday news release from NMU Sports Information, after just a few weeks ago being named Mr. U.P. Basketball by the UPSSA at its annual basketball meeting in Marquette.

The other recruits joining the Wildcats and head coach Matt Majkrzak are Isaiah Allen, Michael McNabb and Cody Schmitz of Wisconsin.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our 2024 recruiting class,” Majkrzak said in the NMU SI release announcing them. “All four score the ball at an extremely high level. The quartet has combined to score 8,216 points in their four-year high school careers. The numbers are jaw-dropping and speak for themselves.

“Despite being some of the best scorers in the nation, all four are unselfish players who can be as impactful on the defensive end as they are offensively.

Northern Michigan University head coach Matt Majkrzak talks to the Wildcats during a timeout of a GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal men’s basketball game played against Purdue Northwest at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on March 6. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

“The other trait all four share is an intense desire to improve and work on their games. They are mature basketball players that value all the little things it takes to become great.

“There hasn’t been a recruiting class we’ve spent more time on as coaches. We first watched them all play when they were freshman in high school, and we’ve seen tons of games over the years.

“What has impressed me is not only their growth as players but also watching them become outstanding leaders within their high school and travel programs. We have a great comfort level with them, their coaches, and their families. They fit NMU and Marquette in every aspect.”

Here is a brief sketch about each player:


Northern Michigan University men's basketball head coach Matt Majkrzak calls out a play to his team in the second half of a college basketball game played against Finlandia at the Berry Events Center in Marquette on Jan. 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

Jonny Ingalls, 6-foot guard, St. Ignace — After averaging 30.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.6 blocked shots per game last season, he led his team to its first berth in an MHSAA semifinal game since 1983 as the Saints made it to the Breslin Center at Michigan State University in the Division 4 tournament and finished at 21-7.

Not only was Ingalls named Mr. U.P. Basketball, but also the Associated Press’ state Division 4 Player of the Year. Other honors included All-State First Team, All-U.P. Dream Team, Straits Area Conference Player of the Year and a berth in the upcoming U.P. All-Star Game.

He finished his high school career with a near-U.P. record 2,029 points.

“Jonny fits the mold of coaches’ kid point guards that we look for,” Majkrzak said. “His dad (Doug) and mom (Dorene) had great careers at NMU and Lake Superior State, and basketball is in his blood.

“This season, he was at his best in the biggest moments, and is a complete joy to watch compete. He’s always been a tremendous point guard, but he added ever more athleticism and range to make him a complete three-level scorer.”


Isaiah Allen, 6-4 guard, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Lutheran — He averaged 23.5 ppg, 7.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game last season, leading his team to a regional final and an 18-9 record.

With 1,376 career points, he’s the all-time leading scorer at Milwaukee Lutheran, and was named Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 2 honorable mention all-state, a two-time Woodland Conference First Team all-conference, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel All-Area team and WBCA All-Star.

“Isaiah does so many things at a high level,” Majkrzak said. “Naturally, the first thing that jumps out is his high-flying dunks and blocks at the rim.

“However, we also fell in love with his IQ and feel for the game. He has legit point guard ability at 6-4 but is also willing and able to take smaller defenders down low and score on the block. He not only averaged 24 ppg, but did it while shooting 57% from the floor.”


Michael McNabb, 6-4 wing, Grafton, Wisconsin — Averaging 28.0 ppg, 8.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.7 steals last season, he finished as Grafton’s all-time leading scorer with 2,157 points.

McNabb was named WBCA Division 2 First Team all-state, First Team All-North Shore Conference, Prep Hoops Second Team All-State and a WBCA All-Star.

“Michael has the ability to put the ball in the hoop at an incredible clip,” Majkrzak said. “He’s always had that lefty glide that makes him really difficult to stop going to the rim.

“As he’s gotten older, he’s become an even better athlete and has continued to add layers to his offensive arsenal. He plays with a high motor and is a relentless rebounder.”


Cody Schmitz, 6-5 guard, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau, Wisconsin — With averages of 30.1 ppg, 11 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.4 steals last season, he led his 20-8 team to a sectional final.

Over his career, Schmitz scored 2,654 points, making him the all-time leading scorer at G-E-T and fourth- leading scorer all-time in Wisconsin.

He was named WBCA Division 3 First Team All-State, Coulee Conference Player of the Year, four-time Coulee Conference First Team, Badger Pro Shop All-MPC Team, Winona Daily News All-Area First Team, WDN Player of the Year, Prep Hoops Second Team All-State and a WBCA All-Star.

“Cody is the fourth all-time leading scorer in the history of Wisconsin and it jumps out when you watch him play,” Majkrzak said. “He’s another true three-level scorer that combines high-level athleticism with an advanced skill set.

“Throughout the last year, he’s taken tremendous strides as a defender and we believe he can be an elite two-way guy.”

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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