Saturday, October 31, 2009

Potential Milwaukee Bucks Assigned Players

In the spirit of Halloween, here is me dressed up for 80's night last year. First person to leave a comment saying who I am in the picture above gets two free Mad Ants Lower Level Sideline scrip tickets.

The Milwaukee Bucks signed on as the Mad Ants third affiliate before last season. Mr. John Hammond (Bucks GM) chose not to assign a player to Fort Wayne last year. He actually had some pretty good reasons. First Joe Alexander was his first round draft pick, and as this was Mr. Hammond's first year as the Bucks GM it would have looked suspect to send your first pick to the D-League. There was some communication before the season that Bucks second rounder Luc Richard Mbah a Moute would be coming to the Mad Ants. Mbah a Moute dismissed that rumour by playing so well as to earn a regular spot in the Bucks rotation. He even started last night against the 76ers .

The good thing is that John Hammond was the right hand man of Joe Dumars in Detroit. Mr. Hammond even made a couple of trips to Mad Ants game to see Piston project/prospect Cheikh Samb play. He is very familiar with the benefits of the D-League. There was just not a real opportunity to assign anyone last year in which it would have benefited the Bucks in any way.

The Bucks as an organization saw the success of the D-League in 07-8 when they assigned Ramon Sessions to Tulsa for most of the season. Sessions (and then Tulsa Coach Joey Meyer) played a big role in defeating the Mad Ants in their home opener. Sessions was a top free agent this season, before being signed by the T-Wolves. So the Mad Ants have the added benefit of Coach Meyer being our head coach, as NBA teams saw the results with the success of Ramon Sessions. This makes our affiliates much more comfortable and eager to assign their players to the Mad Ants.

On to some actual players:

Jodie Meeks
College: Kentucky
Position Shooting Guard
2nd Round 2009 Draft Pick

I would say Meeks is most likely player we will possibly see sent from the Bucks this season. He will be playing behind Michael Redd and Charlie Bell, which does not leave many minutes for Mr. Meeks. He received a fair amount of looks in the preseason but that does not always translate into playing time during the regular season. My guess is that we will see him down in Fort Wayne for one or two small stretches of games. He received a DNP in the Bucks home opener last night.

Chance of seeing him in Fort Wayne: 40%

Brandon Jennings
College: None
Position: Point Guard
Bucks First Round Draft Pick

I am not going to spend much time here, especially after Jennings almost had a triple double in her first regular season NBA game.

Chance of seeing him in Fort Wayne: 0% (unless he decides to stop in on his way to Cleveland for a Cavs game to enjoy a delicious meal at Club Soda or Texas Roadhouse) This would also imply the Bucks drive to Cleveland, so it's officially official ZERO PERCENT.

Joe Alexander
College: West Virginia
Position: SF/PF
1st Round Draft Pick 2008

Before I read this article, I would have told you Alexander has about the same chance of wearing a Mad Ants uniform as Jennings. The article says the Bucks are declining to extend Alexander's contract past this season. It sounds like the Bucks are potentially cutting their losses with Joe and moving on. He still has entire regular season to sit through though. Why not send him to the Mad Ants to boost his confidence and get him some on-court playing time? Who knows, maybe that is exactly what he needs. Plus Alexander currently has an injured hamstring and will not be back to December. This is exactly what the D-League should be used for, rehabbing injuries and helping guys get their legs back before being thrown into the pace of an NBA game.

Chance of seeing him in Fort Wayne: 15%

Roko Ukic
College: None
Draft: None
Position: Guard

This guy played in 72 games with the Raptors last year. I do not know much about him past that. I will put his chances up with Jennings on seeing Fort Wayne anytime this year, unless he looks down on the flight from Milwaukee to Indy.

Chance of seeing him in Fort Wayne: 0%

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
College: UCLA
Draft: 2nd Round 2008
Position: PF

As I mentioned above, we were expecting to see Prince Mbah a Moute down for a sting with the Ants last year. He proved to be a diamond in the rough and earned a big spot int he Bucks rotation, and the starting lineup.

Chance of seeing him in Fort Wayne: 0%

That wraps up my look at the Bucks. Stay tuned for the Pistons write up on Monday or Tuesday. Have a happy and safe Halloween. If you need to reach me I'll be hanging out in a pumpkin patch awaiting the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Potential NBA Assigned Players

First off a big shout out to the D-League Daily for creating really cool Mad Ants PC wallpaper and listing me as a blog they follow. Always glad to see more websites following this great league. Maybe they will give Ridiculous Upside some competition! (was that exclamation point necessary?)

One of the most interesting parts of the NBA Development League is when an NBA team assigns one of their young guys down to the affiliate. On one hand it is great for fans, as they get to see NBA players performing in their city, but it also means their favorite Mad Ant or Dakota Wizard gets his playing time cut down. Getting an NBA guy assigned can give a D-League team a huge boost, or it can cause chemistry problems if the team was already on a roll. The level of talent in the NBA D-League is so high that often there is not that much of a difference (if any) between a TOP D-League guy and an NBA assigned player.

In the next few blogs I am going to discuss each of our NBA affiliates and the potential players on each roster that could be assigned to the Mad Ants. Starting off with the Indiana Pacers...

Tyler Hansbrough

College: UNC
2009 First Round Draft Pick of the Pacers

Now I know you all think I am crazy. There is no way the Pacer's would send Hansbrough to the Mad Ants right? I would normally agree with that statement, but I feel like the perfect storm is happening right now which makes it ever so (VERY VERY) slightly Mr. Bird might consider assigning Hansbrough down for a couple games. Tyler has been injured all preseason and did not see a minute of action after having a solid Summer League. He also earned a DNP for the Pacer's opener on Wednesday. Reports have him being out for at least another two weeks.

Now I am not an NBA GM or Coach but I am a thinker (Glenn Beck reference anyone?). What a perfect opportunity to get Tyler back into playing shape without him having to compete for very limited minutes in an NBA game. Plus Fort Wayne is only TWO HOURS up I-69, he could play on a Friday night and be back in his own bed by 1am. The Pacer's could dictate how many minutes he played and he would be in the safe hands of the most respected Coach in the D-League Joey Meyer. I am not suggesting you send him down for the entire season or even a quarter of it, but why not for the Mad Ants opening weekend?

Percent of this actually happening: .005 percent

AJ Price
College: UCONN
2nd Round 2009 Draft Pick

With Walker Russell JR going overseas, the Mad Ants could really use a solid point guard. AJ Price would fill that need nicely. AJ Price had some nice showings in the preseason such as this one (16pts, 4 ast) and some not so nice ones like this game against the Bulls (0-7 FG). With TJ Ford and Earl Watson ahead of him in the depth chart, it's going to be tough for AJ to get many minutes this season (barring an injury). With the close proximity of Fort Wayne and Indy being a big plus, I could honestly see the Pacer's sending Price down for a few stints this year. My main hesitation is that the Pacer's have never assigned anyone to the D-League in the past. I think as the league grows though, more NBA GMs are starting to buy-in and hear about the success stories like Ramon Sessions and heck even Marcin Gortat.

Percent of this actually happening: 22%

I will lay out the Bucks and Pistons potential Mad Ants assigned players in the coming days. Perhaps I will even thrill you with my amazing Halloween outfit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Introducing the 2009-10 Madame Ants

In an effort to increase visitors to my blog, I wanted to put up some pictures from this past weekends Madame Ants photo shoot. We have some new Madame Ants this year along with your favorites from last year and here is your first look at them courtesy of the wonderful Martz Madness blog. My goal is for this to double my readership (yes I think we can pass the 20 mark people!)

A big thank you to Mad Ants photographer Randy Jackson for group photo of the Madame Ants above. You can always find Randy at the Mad Ants game taking photos of all the action and anything else going down at the game.

Another shout out to Melanie for providing me with the rest of these pictures from the photo shoot. She has now secured her place as most favored Madame Ant in the world of Martz Madness (I would be scared too Melanie).

Here is a shot of the returning Madame Ants from last year:

(Laura, Melanie, Sheenah, Carly, Tasha, April)

(Melanie and new addition to the Madame Ants Ana)

(Melanie, proving it pays to be the one providing the pictures!)

So there is your sneak peak at this years Madame Ants. These women deserve so much credit for the performances they put on at the games. All of them are either going to school or working (or both!), plus they are expected to be at all the practices/workouts in preparation for the season. Not to mention all the appearances they do in the community. I would challenge anyone to show me a more talented or better prepared dance team in all of minor league sports.

You can meet the new Madame Ants at the upcoming Mad Ants NBA D-League Draft Party on Thursday, Nov 5th at Crazy Pinz. Start time is 6pm.

Happy Halloween Charlie Brown!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Chris Hunter waived by Knicks

Sad news came in yesterday that Chris Hunter was waived by the NY Knicks. They also cut former D-Leaguer Joe Crawford. It was a tough situation for Chris as he was injured when the Knicks signed him late last season and he spent most of the time there rehabbing his injury. It's tough to get back to 100% in that short period of time. Ironically, what is bad news for Chris Hunter, is potentially good news for the Mad Ants. The rumor is that Chris is interested in coming back to play in Fort Wayne. I don't blame him (I may be biased), as he will be at the top of the potential NBA Call-up list immediately. Chris is just too good to not have another opportunity in the NBA.

With Anthony Kent most likely returning we will again have a very formidable front court!

Chris Hunter was not the only player to get waived yesterday, here is the full list courtesy of yahoo sports.

There are many familiar names on the list that played in the D-League last year. Courtney Sims was cut from Atlanta, let's hope he goes overseas as I am sure our guys are sick of trying to guard him when Iowa comes to town!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Notre Dame grad cut by Cavaliers

Rob Kurz (seen defending Dirk above) was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday. He played for Golden State last year, and is also a Notre Dame grad. He is a 6'9 forward with an outside shot. If he chose to enter the D-League he would potentially be an "Allocated Player" for the Mad Ants because he played at Notre Dame. So an interesting situation to keep an eye on.

This is a bitter sweet time of year for the D-League with all the guys getting cut out of the NBA preseason/camps. You feel bad when guys get cut from an NBA team, as you know the NBA is where every one wants to be, but I can't help get excited when I see the level of talent that will be available in the D-League player pool come Nov. 5th (D-League Draft).

I will try to keep you posted on any player news as we get closer to to the season. And oh yeah, GET YOUR MAD ANTS SEASON TICKETS TODAY! Call me at 260-469-4667 x 107 to lock up your seats!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hunter gets some playing time

As I now get NBA TV, I had the luck of stumbling on the Knicks vs Tel Aviv Israel Maccabi exhibition game. I tuned in right as Maccabi's Coach was having a fun time delaying the game as he refused to leave after getting two technicals. It was amusing at first but got old pretty quick the longer it dragged on. It was clear he was doing it for some more face time, as apparently he is a pretty big character.

The big Mad Ants news coming out of the game was Chris Hunter getting his first playing time this preseason. To his and the Knicks credit, Chris has been recovering from an injury so do not read too much into his lack of playing time up to this point. I could not find a box score for this game but one report said Chris scored seven points in seven minutes. While I watched on TV I saw him play the final five minutes of the fourth quarter. He was off to a rough start, getting his first two shots blocked and missing his two free throws. He did rally and come back with a nice lay in and then his most impressive feat, hitting an 18 footer from the base line. Chris can really differeniate himself from other bigs if he gets the opportunity to show off that shot. He has the size and physicallity to play in the NBA, he just needs to regain some of his quickness as he continues to get back to 100%.

The bad news coming out of the game is that Marcus Landry out of Wisconsin looked really good and the Knicks announcers were all about him. Typically when the home team announcers are all about a young guy with no expereince, it's because the Coaches are feeding that information to them. That is a bad sign for Chris, as the rumor is that the Knicks will only be keeping one non-guaranteed guy going into the regular season. Please keep in mind you are reading the blog of a Mad Ants account executive and not a NBA Insider.

Other news coming out of the weekend is that the Aboite Trails Great ANT 5K took place on Sunday. I showed up expecting to be one of three office staffers running. As it turns out, I was the only one in the office to have the tenacity, passion, and fortitude to run. I finished an impressive 67th place and had a time of 28 minutes and some change. The Mad Ant was also in attendance giving some of his patented high fives and knuckles, although he too was afraid to take me on in the race.

I feel I have been slacking as a Mad Ants Account Executive with this blog. I don't try to sell you people nearly enough stuff. So if you don't have your season tickets or a group night planned for this season, give me a call TODAY! You can reach me at 260-469-4667 x 107. Or feel free to email me here. Mention this blog and you get a brand new Mad Ants schedule poster hot off the presses.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Another Open Tryous Tidbit

I am a little late with this news, but we had another interesting guest at the Mad Ants Open Tryouts last weekend. We had an assortment of local area Coaches helping out at Open Tryouts. Each Coach was in charge of a separate scrimmage squad of players. It was really a who's who of Fort Wayne basketball with people like Coach Kline from Indiana Tech and Coach Rekeweg from St. Francis. The surprise was former NBA player Vitaly Potapenko , who is interested in getting into getting into coaching as he recently retired from the NBA a few seasons back. Potapenko had a solid NBA career and his name jumped out at me when I heard it as I remember him most from his time with the Celtics. Plus I vividly remember his name from playing NBA 2K as Potapenko is always a fun name for video game announcers to pronounce. Coaching at this level is a tough business to get into but he certainly has the credentials. Keep an eye out to see where he ends up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Draft Party

It's that time of year again, the Mad Ants DRAFT PARTY is returning to Crazy Pinz. Come on out on Nov. 5th (Thursday) at 6pm. If you are a season ticket holder you will be able to pick up your tickets at the Draft Party. At 7pm the 1st Round of the NBA D-League Draft will be broadcast live on NBA TV. Coach Joey Meyer and Asst Coach Mike Sanders will be at the party calling in the picks live from Crazy Pinz. The Madame Ants and the Mad Ant will be in attendance as well. If the last two years are any indication it will be a great time and be sure to come say Hi if you see me there.

Some big news coming out of League meetings this week....unfortunately if I tell you I might disappear. I am worried if I even hint it to you that I may receive the permanent duty of mascot suit cleaning.

Well I need to get back to what I have been doing for the past two days...convince Jeff Potter to invite Rush Limbaugh to become a part of the Mad Ants ownership group. The guy is the Doctor of Democracy for crying out loud, who would not want him! I will let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Another Open Tryouts Report

Steve Warden wrote a nice article about Open Tryouts and the potential return of Rod Wilmont to the Mad Ants in the Journal Gazette yesterday. It has some good quotes from Rod about where he is looking to take his career.

Jeff Potter has been keeping his blog streak alive and found a nice article in the NY Times that has a mention of Chris Hunter and his time with the Knicks.

I would also like to place a blessing on Fox-55 and TBS for now airing the Office at 6pm. That show is just hilarious, and the parallels between Michael Scott and Jeff Potter are simply uncanny. It's a good think no one in my office even reads this blog! Hey prove me wrong fellow Mad Ants staffers, prove me wrong.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Open Tryouts

The Mad Ants open tryouts finished up this weekend. There were over 100 guys who tried out for the team! Just an amaziningly big number. I am not sure what to make of the big crowd, whether it has to do with jobs drying up overseas or the fact the Mad Ants and the NBA D-League name is increasingly ringing out. Above you can see Coach Meyer talking to the guys at the end of Day 1. Another surprise was on Day 2 of the tryouts was the visit of Rod Wilmont. Rod is a former IU player who played for the Mad Ants in our inaugural season. Rod was there watching some of his friends try out, but he also jumped in a few scrimmages as well. Could we see Rod back in a Mad Ants uniform?

Another familiar face at tryouts was Jarred Axon who played back up point guard for Mad Ants part of last season. Axon shot was looking good today and he showed off his outside range. As Jarred is a reader of Martz Madness, I of course am rooting him to come back for the 09-10 season.

Crazy to think the season is getting so close! It's nice to have some basketball to talk about. I will continue to give you updates as they come in.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Jeff Potter is back from Outer Space

Jeff Potter after a long layoff is back to the world of blogging. You can check out his new blog here at its brand new location. He says he will be updating more regularly but seeing is believing. I think every one knows who the real blogger with the Mad Ants is THIS GUY! Sure, Jeff can talk about hobknobbing with the Pistons, player prospects, and Dancing with the Stars. But who brought you weekly updates on the Mad Ants Volleyball team? Who brought you the information on where you can send my birthday cards? That's what I thought.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bad News and Good News

The Mad Ants office staff had the pleasure of going down to Game 4 of the WNBA Finals in Indianapolis. The Indiana Fever had a chance to win the championship as they were up 2-1. Apparently the Mad Ants are bad luck as the Fever lost the game. They really struggled in the fourth quarter and had the same problem as Scott Norwood and just could not make a field goal.
This was the first WNBA game I have ever attended and I really enjoyed it. Great atmosphere and it was a packed house, probably more fans than I have seen at some Pacer games. Thank you to our favorite Indiana Pacer/Fever AE Lindsey Clifford for getting us some great seats. More importantly thank you to Jeff Potter for buying said seats. I also now have a favorite WNBA player in Tully Bevilaqua. She made some great steals and was fun to watch.

Besides the Fever losing, more bad news came out of last night. I have heard that Mr. Mad Ant Ron Howard has been cut from the Knicks roster. This is a real shame as he did not get a chance to play in a preseason game to show what he could do. In the NBA, it is really a numbers games (especially these days) and it is not due to a lack of effort (or certainly character) on Ron's end. I will let you know where Ron ends up, but I am sure he knows he has always has a home with the Mad Ants. The good news is Chris Hunter is still with the Knicks and I am hoping he gets some action in the next pre-season game tomorrow (Oct. 9th).

More good news is that the Mad Ants Coaches have arrived in Fort Wayne. I am not sure if we have officially announced our recently hired assistant coach but it is Mike Sanders. Coach Sanders has 11 years of NBA experience and had a two year stint with the Indiana Pacers. He has also coached under Joey Meyer before in the D-League. They are busy getting prepared for Open Tryouts this weekend at Concorida Seminary. We have close to 60 players already signed up and in the past there has been quite a bit of walk-up registration. So we could have close to 100 guys vying for a spot with the Mad Ants. Open try-outs in the last two years have produced Mad Ants players such as Ron Howard, Chris Hunter, Dewitt Scott, Nate Gerwig, and Eric Smith. So this is a real opportunity for these guys to make the Mad Ants roster.

Every one is welcome to come check out Open Tryouts. It will be from 11am-5pm on both Saturday (Oct 10) and Sunday (Oct 11). It is held at the Wambsganss Gymnasium on the Concorida Seminary Campus (6600 N. Clinton St).

More good news is that Monday is my birthday. Please send all cards to 1910 St. Joe Center Rd Suite 61, Fort Wayne, IN 46825 to my attention.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The NBA Season has started.....kinda

The first few NBA pre-season games have taken place. The NY Knicks played the New Jersey Nets on Sunday. In case you are new to this blog, Mad Ants players Ron Howard and Chris Hunter are both currently on the Knicks roster. Both Hunter and Howard received a DNP (Did Not Play) in the games box score. Do not be too concerned yet as the Knicks have an absurd amount of players on their Training Camp roster and I am sure they will get some playing time in the next few games.

Some other Mad Ants alumni news is that Cheikh Samb has signed overseas with Real Madrid. Cheikh was the first ever NBA player assigned to the Mad Ants roster by the Detroit Pistons in our inaugural season. He was also the first NBA player ever to get his two front teeth knocked out in a Mad Ants game. He bounced around to different NBA squads last year but never stuck. He is a 7'1 shot blocker with a huge wingspan. He once had a triple double in the D-League with Points, Rebounds and BLOCKS (11 of them). Best of luck to Cheikh and I hope we see him back in the NBA soon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The taste of defeat

Well the Mad Ants season is officially over. Before you get too excited and start having flashbacks of Isiah Thomas and the CBA please understand I am talking about the Mad Ants Volleyball Team season is over. We were defeated last night in two straight matches. We even cheated and brought in Jamie, a former Florida State volleyball great. Our main downfall was we only had five players, three of them being guys. Which in this league is bad because you can't play with three guys and two girls on your squad. So the second match we were playing 4 on 6 which is pretty dang hard.

I am also looking for a "bumping" coach in this volleyball offseason. It is easily the worst and most frustrating part of my game. I seriously just need to have someone hit like 300 serves at me until I get it down. The highlight of my night was getting a solid one handed look-away (out of fear) block on a guy. He then gave me a receipt the next play by spiking it right in my face.

For basketball news, every one should check out The Knicks Blog to keep up with how Chris Hunter and Ron Howard are doing. You might catch a glimpse of them in some of the videos.

An impressive stat from the NBA training camps is that 144 players in these camps have played in the NBA D-League at some point in their career. This really says something about the talent and high caliber of play this league has to offer. It really is a step away from the NBA.

Make sure to check out the box score on Oct 4th when the Knicks take on the Nets, looking forward to see how Ron and Chris do. Word on the street is the Mad Ant will be out and about this weekend so be on the lookout. If you see him, please do not make the tired joke about needing a giant can of Raid. You are better than that people.