Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The NBA D-League.....where me crying in the fetal position happens

Such a great game last night! If you were not watching it on Futurecast you really missed out. It was a triple OT game that had so many ups and downs for the Mad Ants. Rod Wilmont hit a crazy three pointer to send us into Double Overtime. Rob Kurz hit a fall-away (almost falling down) off balanced shot to send us to Triple Overtime. In the end it was just not meant to be . You can check out the box score here.

Martz Madness Player of the Game is Oliver Lafayette with 30 points 14 assists and 3 steals. He may have missed a couple free throws that would have clinched the game for us, but without him as Jeff Potter said "we wouldn't have even been in the game". Plus Oliver has a really cool accent.

I can not even imagine how the guys must have felt on the bus ride home. They arrived in Fort Wayne around 8 am this morning. An absolute brutal travel schedule, and they get to play again tonight at home! I am hoping the guys take out their frustration on the Bakersfield Jam tonight and move us back over .500! Luckily Bakersfield is probably just as tired after coming in from Erie early this morning.

Bottom line is this Mad Ants team is showing a lot of toughness and I think fans can expect to see a lot more wins then they have in the past two seasons.

Also a note from Saturdays game, former Mad Ants All-Star Walker Russell JR was in the building visiting! He apparently is done in Europe for now, could he end up back on the Mad Ants roster? You'll have to ask Jeff Potter that question, I just sell tickets!

See you at the game tonight, tip-off is at 7pm. Be there!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Mad Ants season....where above .500 happens!

What a huge weekend for the Mad Ants! We managed to sweep the weekend series with Dakota, with a blowout on Saturday and a thrilling come from behind victory on Sunday. This was big as it pushes us past Dakota in the standings. It's a little early to start talking about playoffs but we most certainly putting ourselves in the hunt with just over a fifth of the season completed.

The game on Sunday pretty much put on display that we have at least three players who have a good shot at getting a NBA Gatorade Call-up this season. Those three players also happen to be the Martz Madness Players of the Game for Sunday. In no particular order they are Ron Howard, Jared Reiner, and Rob Kurz. Want to know why? Check out this box score or Jeff Potter's creepy video blog for details. Also, apparently the Golden State Warriors are looking for a small forward to sign, and the folks over at Ridiculous Upside have put up a poll on who you think should get the spot. Make sure to vote for Ron Howard!

For those wondering why Kyle McAlarney was not in action over the weekend, he was out with a case of food poisoning. He dressed for Sunday's game but was still not feeling real well. He is traveling with the team today (the bus just left for Iowa an hour ago) and I expect to see him back in action Tuesday night.

The team faces a big challenge with the road game tomorrow in the 10-1 Iowa Energy. The good news is Iowa still does not have Courtney Sims on the roster, the bad news is they have added Cartier Martin (Gatorade Call-up to the Bobcats last year). The Ants are on a winning streak though, and they will be giving Iowa all they can handle. You can watch the Mad Ants / Energy game tomorrow night via Future Cast. Tip-off is at 8pm.

The Ants then have a long overnight bus trip home and play the Bakersfield Jam on Wednesday night at the Coliseum. This will be the toughest road travel the guys have done to this point with having no real time to recover from Tuesdays away game. The good news is that Bakersfield is 2-11, the bad new is they just beat the Maine Red Claws!

I'll be back on Tuesday night with an update on how the team fared in Iowa.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Jared Reiner

Merry Christmas Mad Ants fans! I hope you enjoyed a nice Christmas with your family.

The Mad Ants look to break .500 this weekend if they can sweep the weekend series with Dakota tomorrow and Sunday. If we win on Saturday, it would be the deepest into the season the Mad Ants have been with a .500 record or better.

Reggie Hayes has a story on Sean Sonderleiter and Jared Reiner reuniting from their Iowa Hawkeyes days in todays paper. This weekend will be the first time Reiner has played in front of the hometown crowd. He is a big upgrade for us in the big man department. Our team is shaping up real well and I hope that translates into a winning streak to get into the playoff hunt.

Make sure you head to the D-Leauge website to vote for favorite Mad Ants player into the D-League All-Star game.

Come on out on Saturday (Dec. 26th) and Sunday (Dec. 27th) to see the Mad Ants take on the Dakota Wizards. Tip-off is at 7:30pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday. Better yet, bring the whole family!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chris Hunter Update and a big weekend

(Chris Hunter and Marion, IN native Zach Randolph battling for a rebound)

Former Mad Ant Chris Hunter had been struggling recently over the past few games with the Golden State Warriors. This came to an end last night with by far the best game of his NBA career against the Grizzlies. Chris put up 14 points (6-9 FG), 6 rbs, 3 stls, and 3 blocks! Plus he started the game and managed to not have any turnovers in over 30 minutes of play. This is just fantastic to see as Chris is a prime example of why the NBA Development League works. He is a guy who was not on anyones radar in Nov. 2008 and now just over a year later he is contributing big minutes on an NBA roster. Keep it up!

The third Gatorade call-up of the D-League season took place yesterday with Mike Harris of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers getting signed by the Houston Rockets. Scott Schroeder proves how smart he is with this analysis of the situation over at Ridiculous Upside.

The Mad Ants have a big double header weekend coming up on Dec. 26th/27th against the Dakota Wizards. The Wizards are currently 5-5 and just a notch above us with our record currently at 4-5. It would give us some nice momentum to take down two wins and move ahead of them in the D-League standings. I cannot tell you how bad everyone in the front office (and our fans!) want to get to the playoffs this year! The team seems to be gelling together and I am hoping we can build off the big win in Maine.

Have a very Merry Christmas and bring all your friends and family to the games on Saturday and Sunday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Big Win

Last night was a HUGE win for us. To beat one of the best teams in the league (if not the best) in a back-to-back road game is a big accomplishment. The Maine Red Claws had three assigned NBA players on the roster, not to mention several other guys with recent NBA experience (Trey Gilder/Billy Thomas). It was also a big match-up in world of coolest minor league team names. You can check out the box score from the game last night here . It was good to see DeWitt Scott have a great game.

The NBA D-League has also added highlights to most games, so here is my first attempt at embedding video in my blog. I figure it's a little better use of the technology than repeatedly posting the war speech from Braveheart.

Friday, December 18, 2009

So you think you can blog?

Apparently, Jared Reiner tried his hand at blogging during his last stint in the D-League. His posts were few and far between. Let's hope he plays better than he blogs. There I said it. Deal with it Reiner. You are welcome to guest blog here, but you better bring your A-Game.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome Jared Reiner

The Mad Ants made another move today in preparation for two road games in Springfield (Friday) and Maine (Saturday). We have picked up Jared Reiner and released Jared Carter. Reiner is a vet out of Iowa who played for Sioux Falls in the 06-07 season. He is a 6'11 center. He has some NBA experience with the Bucks and Bulls a few years back. Should be a great addition to the team and provide some additional size down low. He is currently traveling with the team and will be on the roster for tomorrow nights game.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Off Today

So I am off today and heading to the Pacers/Bobcats game with my family. I will leave you with a few links that recap last nights big win! Just like that we are one game away from .500 and we are taking on the worst team in the league (again) on the road on Friday.

Journal Gazette - Ben Smith

News Sentinel - Reggie Hayes

Going to a Pacer's game also means I get to see my future wife Stacey Paetz. I am sure she will remember me from our stimulating last conversation. I am bringing my "A-Game" this time around!

Monday, December 14, 2009

All Star Game

Well the Ants could not pull off the sweep of the Skyforce on Sunday. We started off real slow and could never quite recover even though we had a very solid third quarter/beginning of 4th quarter which cut a huge deficit down to just five. As Governor Jesse Ventura always said , close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, unfortunately neither of those activities were being played at the Coliseum on Sunday.

But guess what, the season moves on and we have another game at home on Tuesday (Dec. 15th) against the winless Springfield Armor. The bad news, Morris Almond (formerly of the Utah Flash/Utah Jazz) recently signed with Springfield and will be in town tomorrow. Almond is best known for sharing the record for the highest scoring game in D-League history with 53 points. After Tuesdays home game the team travels to Springfield on Friday for a rematch. It is feasible to believe we could be 4-4 after Friday, but let's not count our Ants before the picnic people.

A recent comment on Ridiculous Upside led me to ponder a great idea in how to better publicize the NBA Development League. Typically the D-League has their own all-star game during NBA All-Star Weekend. This is a great way for scouts/fans to check out all the stars of the D-League who are most deserving of a NBA Gatorade Call-Up. The game is broadcast on NBA TV (which has its viewership growing everyday).

What if we erased the D-League All-Star game and instead had a D-League All-Star TEAM. Who would they play you ask? How about the NBA Rookie/Sophomore team. This is a great way for more people to learn about the NBA Development League and display the quality of players in the D-League. This could air on TNT along with the other NBA All-Star festivities which would also elevate the NBA D-League brand.

What do you think? Why will it probably not happen? The NBA would be afraid the D-League All-Stars would win, and I don't blame them. I would give an NBA D-League All-Star team a fifty-fifty chance of winning such a game.

Sure is a good marketing idea though. See you on Tuesday.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ants Win Ants Win Ants Win

The Mad Ants reportedly had a great game last night in the victory over Sioux Falls. We ended up with a final score of 107-98. I say reportedly because I did not get to see much of it. I had four different groups at the game, which had me Kriss Krossing (JUMP JUMP) the Coliseum at a frantic pace. I am pretty sure every one had a great time, so it was all worth it.

Ben Smith from the Journal Gazette has an article up this morning on last nights win.

I have always been a box score junkie though, so I think I have a good feel for how the guys did. This leads us into the much anticipated MARTZ MADNESS PLAYER OF THE GAME!!!

Guess what folks? We have two co-winners today in Rob Kurz and Ron Howard. Both put up strong diverse stat lines in leading the team to victory. Rob Kurz had 28 pts 11 rbs 4 asst along with a steal and a block. Enjoy Rob being in Fort Wayne while it lasts, I see a call-up in his future.

Ron Howard put up 20 pts 7 rbs 7 asst and two steals. Ron also had the advantage of having his wife Reesha tell me that she reads my blog and finds it quite witty! Yahoo Sports are you listening??? She also mentioned (much to Jeff Potter's chagrin) that she had never read Jeff Potter's blog. After reading that tripe can you blame her? Do you think Danny Ainge and Joe Dumars spend their spare time blogging about "Old School" and posting pictures of Mel Gibson????

The best part about last night you ask? Regardless of how much fun we had and what a strong victory it was, we get to do it all over again today! Tip-off is at 5pm! So come on out and enjoy Go Green Night with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Indiana Michigan Power.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hot Rod Wilmont Article

(Old Hot Rod)

Ben Smith has an article in today's Journal Gazette where he interviewed Rod Wilmont. It touches on Wilmont's return to the Ants after playing for us in the inaugural season. It also touches on Rod's sense of humour which was put on display yesterday here in the office. Rod called in to the office to talk to Sarah (Vice President-Administration). Sarah did not recognize the number/caller and asked "I am sorry who is this?" Rod's response "Hot Rod". For some reason I found this to be hilarious, and I hope this nickname can stick the rest of the year.

(New Hot Rod)
Remember to bring a new unwrapped toy to Saturday night's game (tomorrow!) to donate to Fort Wayne Toys for Tots. The first 250 fans who bring a toy will receive a Mad Ants mini-basketball in return thanks to Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Saturday will also see the return of David Bailey and the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Bailey is a guy who fans love to hate, and loved to see play when he briefly was a Mad Ant last season.

Don't forget we have a game on Sunday at 5pm as well! See you there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mad Ants Photos

Here are some shots from the Mad Ants game on Nov. 29th. These photos were all taken by Mad Ants photographer Randy Jackson.

We had a nice turn out, and some nice take aways too!

No one close enough to defend this J!

Ron Howard shooting for 1 of his 25 points in the game.

Erie seems to be having an Ant infestation problem...

11 Point Mad Ants victory...

That calls for some celebration!

As always thank you from the whole Mad Ants Family

If you have not made it to one of our first two home games, this weekend is a great chance! Come out for Saturday Dec. 12th at 7:30 or Sunday Dec. 13th at 5pm to see the Ants take on the Sioux Falls Skyforce!

D-League Apologizes

The NBA Development League issued a statement regarding events that took place at the Utah Flash game on Monday. The following statement is from NBA D-League President Dan Reed:

“On behalf of the NBA Development League, I apologize to our fans for a Utah Flash promotion that never should have happened. This promotion was clearly ill-conceived. Brandt Andersen, the Utah Flash owner, has apologized to the Flash fans and has reached out to Michael Jordan to apologize to him as well.

The Flash will refund the price of the tickets and has also offered free tickets to an upcoming Flash game to everyone who was in attendance at Monday night’s game.

Check out my "Talk Around the Water Cooler" story to get the details of what transpired.

Talk Around the Water Cooler

The biggest story out of the D-League yesterday can be found here. It's been covered by many national media outlets.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mad Ants Lose

Again I am back with a tardy blog. If you do not know the Mad Ants lost to Iowa on Sunday, than you are simply behind in this technology age of the information highway. The Iowa Energy defeated the Mad Ants 99-84. Curtis Stinson lead the Energy to victory with 16 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds. Ron Howard led the Ants with 17 points, with Rod Wilmont chipping in with 15 points. Our main downfall was poor shooting with a field goal percentage of under 34%.

The good news, we did not have to face an Iowa team with Taylor Griffin or Cartier Martin. The Phoenix Suns assigned Griffin (brother of Blake Griffin) on Monday, and acquired Cartier Martin as he re-entered the D-League. Martin had a great season for the Energy last year before getting a Gatorade call-up to the Charlotte Bobcats where he played in 33 games. If Courtney Sims returns to the Energy, they might as well put in their application to join the NBA as an expansion team!

That is one of the fun (and sometimes frustrating) parts of this league with teams rosters fluctuating so greatly. A team can go from good to great, or good to terrible with a moments notice. Being successful with player transactions and is a huge part of being a winning team in the D-League (and sometimes just being lucky with said transactions!).

There was a good read on Latavious Williams of the Tulsa 66ers from Marc Spears with Yahoo Sports. Williams is the first player to be drafted straight out of high school to the NBA D-League. Williams went 16th in the D-League draft in November.

On tap for the weekends is a double header with the Mad Ants taking on Sioux Falls both Saturday and Sunday. We are teaming up with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Toys for Tots on Saturday. If you are one of the first 250 fans to bring an unwrapped new toy to the game you will receive a free Mad Ants mini-basketball sponsored by Thrivent Financial.

Want to see how Chris Hunter is doing so far with the Golden State Warriors? Click here for his stats up to this point.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kyle McAlarney featured on ESPN's Outside the Lines

If you missed it this morning (I know I did), Kyle McAlarney was featured on Outside the Lines on ESPN. The topic was White American players in the NBA with the question of if there is a bias against them among scouts/coaches/general manages. McAlarney was featured indepth. You can watch the episode at

The Mad Ants take on the Iowa Energy tonight again on the road. Let's hope they correct some turnover issues from Friday and split the series to be at .500 coming home. The next home game is Saturday Dec. 12th where the Ants will be taking on the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Remember you can watch the Ants road games on Futurecast, with tonight's game starting....RIGHT NOW!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Late Dollar Short

(Ron Howard from Thursdays road game against Iowa)

So I broke my streak of blogging once a day! It was not out of laziness but pure lack of time. I did manage to watch almost the entire Mad Ants/Energy game on Futurecast, which by the way is a great feature of the D-League. Make sure to watch road games on futurecast, as the broadcast on Thursday was really good. The only thing I would change is asking the play-by-play guy to quit saying "belt-high dribble" every time the point guard brings the ball up the floor. I know every one has to have their little phrase but you don't have to say it 15 times per game!

The Martz Madness player of the game is again ROB KURZ. Rob had an amazing first half with 24 points and ended the game with 10-12 FG shooting and 7 rebounds. The problem was he only had two points in the second half, largely because he was in foul trouble and did not see many minutes. He fouled out late in the fourth quarter. I would be shocked if Rob makes it the whole season with the Ants without a call-up. The guy is just too good.

The Mad Ants lost the game 102-95. We had simply a horrible first quarter and had many many turnovers. The good news is we had a great second and third quarter and had the lead briefly. We simply could not hang on for the victory. Potter has a much detailed report over on his blog.

There are rumors out of Golden State that Chris Hunter is not going ANYWHERE. So we will have to live with the fact that we will be without our all-star center. Sean Sonderleiter has done a very nice job stepping up, and he will only get more comfortable in his new starting role as the season moves along. Make sure to tune in on Sunday to see the Mad Ants take on the Energy again on the road. Just visit the D-League website and sign up for Futurecast to watch the game.

You can also follow us on twitter where I will be giving "tweet by tweet" updates during the game.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

On the Road Again...

How lame is the title of this blog? Such a cliche.

The guys are in Iowa and will have their first match-up with the Energy tonight. Good news, no Courtney Sims, Bad news, rumors have Courtney Sims and Cartier Martin coming back to the Energy very soon. Hopefully it's after this road trip!

The game will start at 8pm and you can listen to on FM 100 Talks (100.1 FM). You can also watch/listen to the game on NBA Futurecast. Just click here around 8pm and it will come up. You need to sign up to view the game, but it is completely free.

Iowa is off to a hot start, beating Springfield in their first two home games. NBA D-League President Dan Reed attended one of the games and thought Iowa would be one of the top teams this year. So a tough match-up for us, but if the Mad Ants play like they did on Sunday I think a victory is a good possibility. Keep an eye on Rod Wilmont and Oliver Lafayette to see how much time they get in.

Reggie Hayes has an article up on Rob Kurz here. Thanks to season ticket holder Chris Bauer for directing me to this article.

Oh yeah, and if you are an IPFW student, make sure to vote for Madame Ant Melanie for Homecoming Queen! I believe voting ends on Friday. Apparently the Mad Ant himself was on IPFW's campus yesterday helping her campaign.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Some Changes

If you have not heard yet, please check out Jeff Potter's blog for some big player movement news. The Mad Ants have signed Rod Wilmont and Oliver Lafayette who were both waived by Erie right before the season began. Rod was a big time crowd favorite in the 07-08 season and I know all the IU fans will be happy to have him back. He can light it up from behind the arc and also plays defense. Lafayette is a nice pick-up because he gives us a player who is a more traditional point guard and will be great at backing up Kyle McAlarney.

It was a big surprise when both of these guys were released by Erie, and I hope that we can capitalize on the situation by bringing them in. Rod and Oliver are both on the bus heading to Iowa with the rest of the Mad Ants squad.

The sad news with adding two new players, is that two other players were waived in Sandoval and Cotton. It is always a tough decision for Jeff and the Coaches and I hope they get picked up by another team in the league.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chris Hunter is officially a BALLER

(Chris doing work on Danny Granger and Tyler Hansbrough)

Just finished watching the Pacers/Golden State game that I DVD-rd last night which aired on NBA TV and Fox Sports MidWest. It reminded me of my love of the Pacers, and more importantly of Stacy Paetz. Chris Hunter had the best game of his NBA career last night with 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 1 block (3-3 FG 2-2 FT). He had a monstrous dunk that all the Mad Ants fans would find to be a very familiar sight. He also made Tyler Hansbrough look foolish by driving from the three point line from an inbound pass for an easy lay in. He had the impressive stat of +21 in the plus/minus category. This is a relatively new stat that indications how many points your team scored compared to the other team in the time period that you were playing in the game. This is very impressive when you consider Golden State's starting center Mikki Moore was a -2 in the same category.

He received a standing ovation from the crowd when he left the game with 3 minutes left in the 4th. Chris was the best center on the floor tonight for the Warriors and if this does not cement him a spot in the NBA I don't know what will. He has done an amazing job with this opportunity and if we do see him back in Fort Wayne, it won't be for very long!