Friday, December 30, 2011

BEAT LA

Another Mad Ants game day is upon us!

The big news I sagely alluded to yesterday has come through with the Milwaukee Bucks assigning Small Forward Darington Hobson to the Mad Ants. He will be playing tonight against the LA D-Fenders. Darington was a second round draft pick int he 2010 NBA draft, but sat out last year due to injury. The Bucks are looking to get Darington back into the rhythm with some heavy minutes with the Mad Ants. Not sure how long he will be down for, so make sure to check him out at one of the games this weekend.


Check out this link for everything you need to know on Darington Hobson.

I am going to try to do a quick IPHONE interview with him before the game tonight and will post it on the blog and twitter ( which is @themadants).

Here is my starting line up prediction:

PG: Walker Russell JR
SG: Cameron Jones
SF: Ron Howard
PF: Darnell Lazare
C: Chris Hunter

See everyone tonight at the game! BEAT LA!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tough Loss, Help on the Way?

For full disclosure I did not watch the Mad Ants road game last night in Erie. I was catching up with some high school friends (people I went to high school with, not current high school students that would just be weird) who were in town for Christmas. We watched the IU game at a restaruant, which I am lead to believe was much more entertaining than the Mad Ants game. Both games did have the same unfortunate losing outcome.

From the box score it just looks like they could not miss a shot, while we could not make one. The Erie BayHawks shot 6-22 from the 3 point line but still managed to shoot 56% from field goal range which says they were not missing many two pointers!

It was good to see Chris Hunter and Sean Sonderleiter back in a Mad Ants uniform or in my case in a Mad Ants box score. They are only going to get better as they get more acclimated to the team and shake off any remaining rust. This gives us, in my opinion, two of the best bigs in the league.

There is a story being reported by Ridiculous Upside's Scott Schroeder that the Mad Ants will be receiving some help from one of our NBA affiliates for tomorrow (Friday) nights game with a player assignment. I can neither confirm or deny this, but here is the direct link to Scott's tweet on the matter. I will say that although he occasionally sports questionable facial hair, he is usually spot on with all D-League related news.

Tomorrow night we have the LA D-Fenders coming to town for a 7:30pm tip-off. The D-Fenders will be bringing former NBA player Mardy Collins who just signed with the D-League by Iowa before being shipped to LA in a trade involving some draft picks going to Erie. LA is sporting an 8-6 record but is coming off two losses to the Texas Legends.

We are coming off three losses (two being at home). Big opportunity for the guys to make a statement by beating a tough west coast team (not to mention the Lakers affiliate). I feel like our starting lineup is a virtual D-League all-star team right now and am very confident we can compete (and BEAT!) anyone in the league. We will find out tomorrow night, see you there!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Back to Reality...(Whoops there goes gravity)



I am back after an extended Christmas break. For those of you playing from home, big roster changes over the last few days. Here is where we stand as of right now:

Active Roster

Chris Hunter -C
Sean Sonderleiter - C/PF
Darnell Lazare - PF
Marvin Phillips JR - PF
Cameron Jones - SF/SG
Ramone Harris - SF
Ron Howard - SG/SF
Corey Allmond - SG
Walker Russell JR - PG
Tory Jackson - PG

All of these players will be active on the roster for tonight's game in Erie. Here is my predicted starting lineup (although this is just my guess for those competing in our Facebook Challenge):

PG: Walker Russell JR
SG: Ron Howard
SF: Cameron Jones
PF: Darnell Lazare
C: Chris Hunter

We have waived Sadiel Rojas due to injury (a tendinitis flair up in his shoulder).


(Mad Ants practice at the Concordia Seminary before leaving on the bus to Erie)

Chris Hunter is back from Knicks training camp, and looks great in a full contact practice yesterday before the team left for Erie. I was at practice and Chris looks as healthy as I have seen him since last December. He will be looking to shake any rust off tonight, and work his way back onto an NBA roster. I will give him about until January 14th until he gets a call-up (knock on wood) as that would be right after the D-League Showcase in Reno. The Showcase features all the D-League teams playing in front of all the NBA scouts. He will be a huge help the the Mad Ants in the mean time.

Sean Sonderleiter will also make his long awaited and trumpeted return (mostly by this blog!) and he will be sporting a nice pair of James Worthy-esque goggles to protect his injured eye from last year.

With all these additions, you have to be asking who did we let go. The team waived Antonio Smith and Jabril Banks, with the aforementioned Sadiel Rojas being waived by injury (thus we retain his rights for the time being).

A not so fun part of this job is occasionally having to take recently waived players to the airport. It is typically a pretty awkward situation, as you can imagine the players are typically not in the highest of spirits. Yesterday, I took Jabril Banks to the airport and he could not have been a nicer guy about it. Jabril has been great at all of our community appearances (youth basketball clinics etc), plus he looked to be making some nice progress on the court as well. It was just another case of the cliched "numbers game" taking effect. I wish Jabril the best of luck and hopes he finds himself back on a pro court very soon.

See everybody Friday Night (Dec. 30th) at 7:30pm as we take on the LA D-Fenders. We need to really bounce back with a home win and need our sixth man (this is you!) support!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quick Update

I wanted to jump in with a quick update before the game tonight against the Austin Toros. The big news for tonight's game is Walker Russell Jr will return to the starting lineup. Most likely our starting five tonight will be:

PG: Walker Russell JR
SG: Ron Howard
SF: Cameron Jones
PF: Marvin Phillips JR
C: Antonio Smith

The other big news is that unfortunately fan favorite power forward Darnell Lazare was waived by the Indiana Pacers yesterday. The silver lining on that cloud is that Darnell will be returning to the Mad Ants roster and is already back in town. He cannot play in tonight's game (Dec. 23rd) due to an NBA rule that a player waived by an NBA team must wait at least 48 hours before returning to a D-League roster. So it looks like his first game back will be on the road against Erie on Dec. 28th.

Tough loss last night in a game that seemed very winnable for the Mad Ants. It just seemed like we kept letting Sioux Falls stay in the game. One bright spot was Ron Howard having a very nice return with 28 pts and 3 steals.

I think with Walker returning tonight, it will open the floor and give our team a much better shot selection. New readers please note I was cut from my 7th grade basketball team when taking anything I say basketball related seriously.

Justin Dentmon and the Austin Toros will be looking to crush our Christmas spirit tonight and send us into the holidays with a two game losing streak. Dentmon is a guard out of Washington University and played for the Texas Legends last year. He is one of the better guards in the league and should make for a fun match up with Walker.

Have a very Merry Christmas and I hope we have all been good so Santa gives us a Mad Ants win tonight. Otherwise Jeff Potter will be depressed for the holidays and that would be a worse Christmas gift for his family than a Pet Rock or pair of socks.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Word With Walker



Just got back from the Coliseum to get setup for tonight. The team was finishing up shootaround while we were there. Sean Sonderleiter was doing some light drills and looked like he is recovering very quickly. I am not sure what the exact injury is, but it seems to be a slight strain of a ligament/muscle in his chest. He will be out for this weekend but should be joining the active roster very soon.

Walker Russell JR walked into shoot around from Detroit this morning, sporting a fresh pair of Piston's game shorts. Here is a quick IPHONE video interview with Walker about his experience at the Detroit Pistons training camp.


video

As Walker notes in the video, he will return to the active Mad Ants roster for the game tomorrow night (Friday) against Austin.

In more HUGE NEWS, I have finally won my first Rec League Volleyball championship!!!!!!!!! This has been 2.5 years in the making and it was a good feeling to finally take down a t-shirt! In the league we play in you get $15 off your next session or a free t-shirt for winning. I view the t-shirt the same as a championship trophy and will be wearing it for the next week or so. Here is a shot of the Tainted Tigers, winners of the first session of Indoor Volleyball B- League.


Here is my predicted starting lineup for the game tonight:

PG: Tory Jackson
SG: Cameron Jones
SF: Ron Howard
PF: Marvin Phillips JR
C: Antonio Smith

See everyone at the game tonight, remember it is Ugly Christmas Sweater night so make sure to dress up in your best (or worst) sweater.

Tip off is at 7pm with doors opening at 6pm. As always, you can get in for a little more than it costs to get a gallon of gas ($5).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Talent Influx

Rumor has another Mad Ant player returning from an NBA training camp in Walker Russell Jr. My sources (Yes I have sources!) say he will be back in practice tomorrow and eligible to play on Friday (Dec. 23rd) against Austin. The league requires a 48 waiting period in between getting waived and being elgible to play which is the reason Walker will not play tomorrow against Sioux Falls.

In case you missed it in the papers yesterday, Gage Daye was the player who was waived to make room for Ron Howard. Gage did not make it easy on the Coaches making the decision as he has some really nice minutes for us. Especially in our game against Erie a week or so back when he scored 11 points in the 4th quarter and essentially took over the game. As it often does, it just comes down to a numbers game with the limited amount of roster spots available (ten for D-League teams).

That leaves Darnell Lazare still in the Pacers training camp, along with Chris Hunter in the Knicks camp. We are all really pulling for Darnell to make it, as he really improved his game last year. He is also a smart hilarious guy who you can't help but root for to make it. Plus it's a short trip for the office to go see him on the Pacer's team.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Roster moves

Big win on Sunday over Springfield to get the team back on track and bring us to .500 with a 4-4 record. Sioux Falls and Austin are on tap for this Thursday/Friday doubleheader at home. Sioux Falls is a team we beat in our home opener, but as we all know our roster has changed quite a bit since then!

Bad news yesterday for Ron Howard as he was waived by the Milwaukee Bucks. I have heard from sources (IE being nosy around the office) that he will be back in practice with the Mad Ants as of today (Tuesday) and will be playing this Thursday and Friday. So that means we will have now two more of our starters back from the beginning of the season. Ron is a reliable scorer who takes high percentage shots which is just what we need right now.

Sean Sonderleiter is still out on injured reserve and I am not sure what his status will be for this weeks games. Obviously with Sean and Ron returning that will cause us the tough task of having to waive a couple guys. No idea who that will be and glad that I am not the one deciding!

We still have Walker Russell Jr with the Detroit Pistons, Darnell Lazare with the Pacers, and Chris Hunter with the NY Knicks. Both Walker and Darnell play in preseason games tonight, so best of luck to them and be sure to tune in if you get the games to hopefully see them in action!

See everyone at the games this week and remember Thursday is "Ugly Christmas Sweater" night so be sure to bring out your best/worst yuletide sweater.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Off Night

So my prediction for the return of Thor-lookalike Sean Sonderleiter was a little off for last night. Technically when I posted the article it was correct, but literally an hour later I learned he would be on injured reserve due to a minor injury. He should be suited up next week if all goes well.

For those of you who came to the game last night, we appreciate your patience. The scoreboard and shot clock were having some major issues causing several delays. Great job by our stats crew led by Troy Dan and our PA announcer Jerrdog for keeping up with everything minus a shot clock/score.

Jeff Potter announced in the 4th quarter that any ticket for Dec. 16th could be turned in at the Coliseum box office to be used at another game as a thank you for bearing with us last night.

I will be honest, I did not get a chance to see very much of the game last night. Per usual I was bouncing around from place to place. From the box score, it is clear the entire team was pretty off last night. You can't really look at any one player and say they had a solid game. It is really tough to beat a team when you are only shooting 34% from Field Goal range and the other team is shooting 53%.

Let's hope we bounce back tomorrow against Springfield. Tip-off tomorrow (Sunday) is at 6pm.

Darnell Lazare got some run (as the kids like to say) in the Pacer's preseason game. From the box score, it doesn't look like he played his best but just the fact that the Pacer's played him for almost 10 minutes means they see something in him. The Pacer's have one more preseason game for him to impress coming up on Tuesday (Dec. 20th) against the Bulls.

Walker Russell JR was a DNP-Coaches Decision in the Pistons preseason game last night. I am sure that is disappointing for Walker but hopefully he will get some time in the next game.

Ron Howard will be playing tonight in the Buck's preseason game at 8pm ET against the T-Wolves.

Best of luck to all of these guys. I hope we never see them again in Fort Wayne (and I mean that in a good way!)

See everyone tomorrow night at the game!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Blog is Back...The Blog is Back

The blog is back in town, the blog is back the blog is back. Due to a tiny bit of demand, the Martz Madness Blog is now back in session after over a year layoff. I credit the return of this blog fully to one season ticket holder Ken Lauer. Ken asked me when I was going to return to blogging, and the sole fact that I knew at least one person read and enjoyed my blog was all the motivation I needed!

This blog will be all about bringing you as much inside news on the team that I can get away with giving away before Jeff Potter drops the hammer on me. As well as some fun behind the scenes stories.

So let us dig right in and bring us up to date on all things Mad Ants!

The team is currently 3-3 and we have a double header weekend this Friday (tomorrow) and Sunday against Iowa and Springfield. As with most teams in the NBA D-League we will be playing without a majority of our original starting lineup due to players going to NBA training camps. For those who have not been playing along at home, here is where all our players landed:

Ron Howard - Milwaukee Bucks
Walker Russell Jr - Detroit Pistons
Darnell Lazare - Indiana Pacers
Cameron Jones - Miami Heat

Cameron was released by the Heat on Wednesday and is already back in Fort Wayne (or the "Wizzle" as Darnell Lazare refers to it). He was at practice yesterday and will play on Friday. Cameron said it was a great experience for him, and I am sure it only drives his ambition to make it back to an NBA roster. I hope to have a video interview with him soon of his experiences in Miami with the big 3!

Another big story that will be unveiled this Friday, is that a former Mad Ant will be returning to the line up! It is not officially official yet so I will drop a couple hints for you.

A.) He last played for the Mad Ants during the 2009-10 Season
B.) He has often been said to resemble THOR
C.) He may or may not have been spotted sitting courtside at the game on Dec. 9th.

Also, here is a random picture from the game on Dec. 9th. Apparently we had an Ashton Kutchner look-a-like at the game...



With the team at home for the next four games, this is a big chance for us to get out in front with some wins. If we can stay strong over the next few games, we will most likely see some of our NBA training camp players return soon. Of course I would like to see all the guys make an NBA roster, but there are only so many roster spots available. From what I have heard around the office though, all of our players have been doing really well in their respective camps.

Here is my prediction for the starting line up on Friday:

PG Tory Jackson
SG Corey Allmond
SF Cameron Jones
PF Marvin Phillps JR
C Antonio Smith

Looking forward to a fun game on Friday, hope to see everyone there! Make sure to introduce yourself if you read the blog and see me running around at the game like a maniac.