Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pacer / Piston Game

The Mad Ants office made the trek to Indianapolis to watch the Pacers battle the Pistons on Monday. The main reason was to support our guy Walker Russell JR (or Walker D. Russell as the Piston's broadcast team calls him)who was called up in January to the Piston's roster. For new readers of the blog, Walker has spent four out of the past five seasons in and out of a Mad Ants uniform. Walker did not get any minutes in the game, but we were proud to see him in an NBA uniform nonetheless.

We did actually get to see two Mad Ant Alumni play, as both Dahntay Jones and Vernon Macklin played significant minutes. Dahntay had a short stint with the Mad Ants at the end of our inaugural 07-08 season where he dominated and has been on an NBA roster ever since.

Dahntay Jones dunking during an 07-08 Mad Ants game

The very recent Mad Ant alumni Vernon Macklin put up 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block in under 14 minutes of playing time. With Ben Wallace potentially retiring this off season, I think Vernon has a really good chance of sticking around for the Pistons. He is an athletic big, who can alter shots plus help clean the glass.
Vernon Macklin going for the block against Darren Collison on Monday (4-23-12) Photo Credit: Ron Hoskins / Getty Images / NBAE

We stuck around after the game (snuck around is more like it as we almost got kicked out...) to talk to Walker. He seemed in high spirits and was looking forward to the off season, where he will be working hard to earn another season with the Pistons. This will likely entail NBA Summer League in Vegas, then the preseason camp. I think Walker has proven he belongs in the NBA this season, too bad it is not my call! I do think he has a really good shot, as pass first PG's are a rare commodity in the NBA.

Me wearing a jersey dress on the way into the Pacer's game...

I thought it would be funny to wear Walker's Mad Ants jersey to the game. I had a sweatshirt on over it, and was just waiting for Walker to sub in so I could rip off the sweatshirt and start going bananas. Luckily for Walker's sake, this never happened. We did have Walker autograph the jersey and will be giving it to Mad Ants President Jeff Potter as a gift after we have it framed. I can put this in the blog even though it is a surprise as I know Jeff never reads this blog... Have a great weekend! Still working on getting those videos from the road trip up. It's tough when Jeff thinks his newborn daughter is more important than my blog and wants to use the camera to document the new addition to the family...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Post Season Blog

(Walker Russell JR driving on the Atlanta Hawks 4-18-12) (Courtesy Getty Images)

Well I have went and let everyone down again by my lack of blogging. By everyone I mean four people (one being my Mom) who check this blog.

I should have some interesting content up in a week or so as I traveled with the team on the last trip to Canton and did a sort of mini documentary. I plan on posting various clips of it over the off season. I apologize for the delay but my (and by my I mean Jeff Potter's) camera was confiscated as Jeff and his wife are expecting a baby girl today or tomorrow and apparently that is more important than my Mad Ants videos!

It was a nice night on the court last night for the Mad Ants... yes the season is still over... I am talking about our Mad Ants Alumni Walker (D) Russell Jr and Vernon Macklin. The Piston's announcers have taken to calling Walker by his first name and middle initial apparently to distinguish him from his father who also played for the Piston's back in the day.

Last night against the Hawk's Walker had a career high 15 points on just 12 and a half minutes of playing time. This went along with recent Mad Ants big man Vernon Macklin getting 8 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes. This was Macklin's first game back on the active roster of the Piston's since being recalled from the Mad Ants. Hopefully this playing time will continue so the Piston's can evaluate the progress he made while down in Fort Wayne where he put up big numbers averaging 14.5 points and 14.3 rebounds over 10 games.

(Macklin battling NBA vet and recent call-up Mikki Moore) (courtesy Getty Images)

Macklin was easily the most dominant NBA player we have seen be assigned to the Mad Ants in our five seasons. Typically putting up those type of numbers in the D-League means good things for your chances at sticking in the NBA. I think many NBA assigned players are surprised about how high the level of play is in the D-League, and this is often proven true when they don't put up the kind of numbers you would expect. It goes to show that just how close the top guys in this league our to playing on the NBA level. Many times it is just a case of you know (or who your agent knows) and which coach saw something in you at a given time.

(Macklin dunking in the Pistons/Hawks game from 4-18-12) (courtesy Getty Images)

The Mad Ants office staff is heading down to the Pacers vs Pistons game on Monday and I will try to get a quick interview with Walker and/or Macklin via the Martz Madness Iphone Interview.

Stay tuned for the aforementioned road game videos, and I will check back in next week after returning from the Pacer's game.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Something New

The Mad Ants are on the road to Canton this morning after a couple tough losses to Erie this past Thursday and Sunday. The Mad Ants will face Canton on the road tomorrow night and as always you can watch live, free, and online via NBA Futurecast. Game tips off at 7pm EST.

Canton has been hot lately winning their last five games, and being 8-2 in the last ten. Notre Dame Alumni and current Cleveland Cavalier Luke Harangody is on assignment with Canton and has been putting up monstrous numbers averaging 19 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. This will be a tough match up for the Mad Ants, but our roster has had an influx of talent so don't be surprised if we steal a win here.

The Mad Ants own NBA assigned player Vernon Macklin played very well on Thursday and Sunday on loan from the Detroit Pistons. After two games he is averaging 15.5 pts, 17 rbs, and 3.5 assists and giving the low post presence we have been lacking all season. For Vernon's first game with the Mad Ants I decided to do something a little different and create a video synopsis following him during the game. I also interjected a few quick interviews with Mad Ants Coaches, Vernon, and the Piston's Basketball Operations staff member Dell Potter.

Take a look below and let me know what you think, this is my first try with a video of this kind so I would love your input. A big thank you to Jeff Potter, Sebastian Pruiti, and Steve Jobs for help getting this put together.

The Mad Ants return home on April 6th and 7th. Tell your friends!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quick Pre-Game Update

Okay, time again for my monthly blog.... With four home games left, the Mad Ants have loaded up on some new talent which I am sure would have been a tremendous help had we had this line up from the start.

Mad Ants take on Erie tonight (Thursday) and again on Sunday. The starters for the Ants for tonight will most likely be:

Guards: Anthony Goods, Ron Howard

Forwards: Cam Jones, Darnell Lazare

Center: Vernon Macklin (on loan from the Detroit Pistons)

New faces playing tonight will be: Vernon Macklin assigned by the Detroit Pistons. Vernon is a 6'10 four man who was a second round draft pick and played his college ball at Florida. Vernon has a great attitude about his Mad Ants assignment and is looking forward to a chance to get some heavy minutes tonight.

(Macklin laying it in for the Pistons)

Another new addition to the Mad Ants is Stephen Graham. Many Mad Ants fans will remember Graham from his stint with the Pacer's a few seasons ago. Graham is a 6'6 wing man who has some real size to him (muscle not fat!) and will be a welcome addition to the team. He too will make his debut tonight, after just arriving in Fort Wayne yesterday with one practice under his belt which is just "life in the D".

Former Mad Ant Marvin Phillips JR is playing for Erie and was kind enough to do a quick interview for the Martz Madness blog. Marvin was an office and crowd favorite and we are always happy to see him in Fort Wayne.

See everyone tonight! And remember to bring pop tabs on Sunday for the Ronald McDonald House Tabathon to win a free breakfast sandwich from McDonald's and a chance to sit court side!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Video Update

So my blog has fallen off the face of the earth again I fully admit it. My excuse is that I was out saving the world....not sure what Jeff Potter's excuse is! The Mad Ants are back from the All-Star break and return to action tonight in Erie. If you are reading this blog then you already know you can watch FREE, LIVE, and ONLINE via NBA Futurecast. The game tips off at 7:30pm EST.

We have some new faces with the Mad Ants (big surprise!) so let's quickly get everyone up to date on the roster.

Sean Sonderleiter and Sadiel Rojas have both been waived due to injury. Sadiel took a nasty fall in Iowa and will most likely be out for the rest of the season as he suffered a back injury. Sadiel is doing fine and will make a full recovery. He is getting excellent treatment from FWO and doing his physical therapy here in Fort Wayne. Sean is day to day right now. Mike Tisdale was waived due to personal reasons and he will not return to the team.

Devan Downey will return to the active roster after recovering from an ankle injury. He will be joined on the team by two new additions in NC State grad 6'9 Ben McCauley. McCauley has played overseas the past few years and also participated in a couple different NBA Summer League camps.

(Ben McCauley at NC State)

Another addition to the team is 6'8 forward Kevin Coble who Big Ten fans will remember from Northwestern. Let's have Kevin tell you a little about how he ended up on the Mad Ants roster via the Martz Madness I-Phone Interview...

Speaking of I-Phone interviews here are a couple more with Coach Steve Gansey and Darnell Lazare talking about their experience at All-Star weekend and also looking ahead to tonight's game in Erie.

I hope to see everyone on Friday and Saturday at the big Mad Ants home stand as we play Dakota on Friday and LA on Saturday. Tip Off is at 7:30pm both nights. The good news is it looks like LA's star player Gerald Green (2007 NBA Dunk Champ) was called up by the NJ Nets. We have had a real tough stretch this past month but I have faith that the Ants can pull it together and put together a good showing for what will be two of our biggest crowds of the season judging form presale tickets.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Back to the Fort

It feels like it has been a while since the last Mad Ants home game, and rightfully so with the last defense of the Colony being January 17th. The Mad Ants are back on the Coliseum hardwood Thursday & Friday (Feb 2nd/3rd) battling Eastern Conference rival Maine Red Claws.

Besides having a mascot that could pass as the Mad Ant's less cool half-brother... the Red Claws also have a former Mad Ant on the roster in center Anthony Kent.

There was some bad news today, as Mad Ants point guard Tory Jackson had a nasty ankle sprain at practice. It looks like he will be out for roughly three weeks, which is a real shame as Tory had been really stepping up as the starting PG with Walker Russell JR getting called up to the Pistons. That puts recent Mad Ant and Michigan State Spartan Travis Walton as the starter and causing the Mad Ants to sign a player out of the D-League Player pool.

That player is Devan Downey who played his college ball with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Downey finished his college career in 2009-10 averaging 22.5 points to go along with 3.5 assists.
Devan played in Turkey last season and this will be his first foray into the NBA D-League. He will be thrown in the mix and will be dressing for Thursday night's game. He actually will also be arriving on Thursday as I am picking him up from the airport tomorrow morning! That is a common story in the D-League and I hope Downey is a quick study!

Ron Howard is still injured and will be missing this week's home stand. Another loss to the roster is Darington Hobson who was just recalled to the Milwaukee Bucks a few hours ago.

So obviously we will be short on players tomorrow, so if you have ever wanted to play in the D-League show up at the Coliseum tomorrow for the game and Jeff Potter may just make your dream come true! Please note that Jeff Potter's blog was last updated on January 11th... but I guess he has still not went a year between blogs like this fella...(good thing Jeff never reads my blog *sob*)

Walker Russell Jr had the best game of his short NBA career as a Detroit Piston tonight as he put up 12 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists against the New Jersey Nets in a close 99-96 loss. Walker continues to play big minutes and prove he has earned his right to be on an NBA roster. Walker's NBA Call-UP banner will be going up in the Coliseum concourse tomorrow night and be put up for every Mad Ants home game for the rest of time.

There is all your Mad Ant's news... and I managed to go an entire blog without mentioning you should come Thursday and Friday night to see our brand new Assistant Coach/NCAA National Champion/Olympic Gold Medalist Christian Laettner on the sideline.

Basically you have no reason to miss this Thursday or Friday's game so I will ANTicipate seeing each and every one of your faces there. Tip off for Thursday is 7pm and Friday is 7:30pm. Still working on my Super Hero costume for Friday but I always seem to come through...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catching Up

So I picked a really bad time to get lazy with blogging eh? The last week has been one of the most eventful weeks in Mad Ants history and I decide to just not blog? What is wrong with me? Don't answer that.

(Photo Copyrights below to Layne Murdoch Jr/NBE/Getty Images)

Big News 1: Walker Russell JR was called up by the Detroit Pistons last week. He received the call while en route to Sioux Falls last weekend for a pair of Mad Ants road games. He basically jumped off the plane, slept four hours then flew to Detroit just in time to barely miss the Piston's shoot around. He was given a crash course by Piston's Coach Lawrence Frank and his staff. Walker then found himself playing 20 plus minutes as back-up point guard against the Memphis Grizzlies last Saturday night.

The word "deserve" gets thrown around quite a bit in many situations which may not always warrant it. As William Munny from Unforgiven said "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it. " Walker EARNED this opportunity. He has played int he D-League off and on for the past six years, just waiting for the right spot to open up... the right situation. I don't think you could write up a better situation than this one. He gets to return to his hometown , to a team he played with in pre-season, and a team that clearly wants him around. He has played three games to date with the Pistons, and has yet to play less than 12 minutes. He has that natural charisma and floor general mentality that makes guys work harder for him knowing he will make it easier for them to score.

Coach Frank paid Walker some nice compliments after the game where they defeated the Portland Trailblazers. Essentially saying Walker was running plays he (Coach Frank) had drawn up 30 seconds prior and running the offense extremely well.

You can tell everyone from the Piston's announcers to his Piston's teammates want Walker to succeed. He is the hometown son of a former Piston getting his first big long overdue shot and everyone is rooting for him. He has quite a few people in Fort Wayne rooting for him too! I think I speak for everyone in the Mad Ants office when I say "DON'T COME BACK".

Walker and the Pistons are back in action tonight taking on LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Most of the Piston's games air on FS Detroit which is Comcast Channel 9 in Fort Wayne. To just think.. ten days ago you could have been watching him in Fort Wayne where tickets start at just $5... (I know I know, most of you were there!)

Big News 2: Christian Laettner is our new Assistant Coach. Many people have asked me how this all happened and I can give you the short version of it as it was a really quite simple process. We had an Assistant Coach job opening and Christian Laettner was looking to get into coaching. Done. It is a great opportunity for our players to learn from a guy who has accomplished so much in his basketball career and can provide pieces of knowledge to help get them to the next level.

I have heard his focus with the team is going to be with the big men and also defense. I think it adds a great dimension to Coach Gansey's staff to have a guy who has played the PF/C position at the highest level work with our bigs and provide all the little tricks of the trade.

From a marketing standpoint it has been a big success for us as well. The story was everywhere from the front page of Yahoo Sports to being in the USA Today. It is always nice to have one of the best college basketball players of all time and an Olympic Gold Medalist on the team. I am expecting to see quite a few Duke fans come out of the woodwork at our home stand next week (Feb. 2nd/3rd). In Sioux Falls, after his first game as Mad Ants Assistant Coach, reportedly over 100 fans waited outside the locker room to get his autograph.

With the whirlwind schedule the team has been on I have only briefly met Coach Laettner when he came into the office yesterday for a Coaches meeting but he came off as a soft spoken genuinely nice guy who really appreciates this opportunity to continue his basketball career. Here is a nice video interview with Coach Laettner disucssing his first impressions of the D-League conducted by Steve Warden at the Journal Gazette from practice yesterday morning.

Also, if you are wondering how Coach Gansey is handling his new role as Head Coach, especially with bringing in such a high profile assistant check out Mr. Warden's article from this morning's Journal Gazette. In short... he relishes it!

Team Notes: A few player additions since the last time I blogged. We have picked up Travis Walton from the player pool to fill the roster spot Walker Russell JR left when getting called up. Walton is a Michigan State alumni who plays point guard and will be backing up Mad Ants starter Tory Jackson. Walton is a former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He was recently playing with the Dakota Wizards before getting waived. Coach Gansey is very familiar with Walton as he spent some time in Fort Wayne over the summer getting some workouts in with Coach Gansey.

We also just added former Illinois big man Mike Tisdale. Mike is a 7'1 center who was up until recently playing for the Maine Red Claws. Mike will be filling the roster spot left by Jarrid Famous. Jarrid is out for a week or so with a sore knee.

We will be playing tonight on the road against the always dangerous Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Make sure to catch the game on NBA Futurecast online. I cannot say enough great things about this service. I have been having office viewing parties over at my house and we are able to put the game up on my TV via the D-League Center Court App. Just a really nice job the D-League to make it easy to follow your favorite team (The Mad Ants of course!) while they are on the road. Game tips off at 8pm EST.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Coach Gansey & Mad Ants during a time out - January 15, 2012 photo by Randy Jackson

Mad Ants have a chance to notch another win at home tonight against Dakota tonight after an overtime emotional roller coaster of a win on Sunday.

Ramon Harris had a huge game on Sunday shooting 6-9 from 3 point range and having SIX steals. Ramon is a player who has clearly "developed" (this is the NBA Development League people) the most in this season. He was a guy who was waived to start the season, only to be given a second shot when the NBA Lockout ended taking all of our starters to NBA camps. He is the last remaining player on the roster after those starters returned with the start of the NBA season and he is proving Jeff Potter made a great decision in sticking with him (this is sucking up to my boss).

Ramon Harris for 3!!! Photo Courtesy of Randy Jackson

One thing that keeps jumping out to me about our team this year is that there is no weak link. We have a very solid and balanced team. Anyone is capable of having a big game on any given night and that is something that is hard to defend against.

Ron Howard will most likely miss tonight and perhaps a few more games with his sprained thumb. It is just one of those lingering injuries that is better not to force, and just let it heal completely.

I asked Jeff Potter for a "Martz Madness" prediction/comentary for tonight's rematch against Dakota and he gave me this.... "I expect this to a double digit victory". I could use a nice double digit victory because I can't take many more of these Overtime thrillers!

Tonight is our last home game in January, so make sure to come on out for a 7pm tip off. We hit the road for Sioux Falls this weekend with games on Friday/Saturday which as always can be watched free online via NBA Futurecast. Let's see if we can get some wins together so the Mad Ants can officially go STREAKING (oh I referenced the title of the blog!!!!).

Oh yeah, and it was 80's night on Sunday. We all know how much I like to embarrass myself so....

Received numerous guesses to who I was.... they ranged from Inspector Gadget, Columbo, Michael Jayfox and Bender from the Breakfast Club...

Apparently the movie "Say Anything" was not as big of an 80's hit as I thought...

See everyone at the game tonight!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

NBA TV in 3...2...1...

As the Mad Ants staff is getting ready to head out to Crazy Pinz to watch the team take on the Tulsa 66ers, I figured I was about due for a blog.

We had a huge win on Monday in our first game at the NBA D-League Showcase in Reno. It was over the Bakersfield Jam who has been playing really solid this year with a record of 9-7 (in a league that reeks of parity). The Mad Ants started off the game down 19-2 but came roaring back to make it a very back and forth affair in the second half. The biggest surprise of the game was the play of Sadiel Rojas. Sadiel had not received much playing time recently, but due to Ron Howard being injured was given an opportunity to show what he could do. When all was said and done Sadiel racked up 16 pts 8 rebounds and 3 steals, not to mention a late 4th quarter 3 that gave us the final push to stay ahead for good. He played a whopping 40 minutes coming off the bench!

This is a league that is built on opportunity and it looks like Sadiel really took advantage of this one.

No word from Reno if Ron Howard will play today but even if he does I am sure Coach Gansey will find some minutes for Sadiel after Monday's performance.

The other big story out of that game was Walker Russell JR putting up 19 points with 19 assists. What a perfect time and place to have that game in front of Scouts from all 30 NBA teams. If this does propel him to an NBA contract I don't know what will. Walker is like a 2nd coach otu there and would be a great back-up PG for any NBA squad.

Well, this blog feels like a lot of fluff but I don't have much inside info as the entire basketball staff (including Jeff) is in Reno. The other big piece of news is that I sent a small roulette wager of $10 with one of said staff which turned into $188. Suffice to say, my paper is stuck on overload right now

Let's hope the Gansey Magic stays alive tonight and we bring back a three game winning streak to the Coliseum on Sunday for Awesome 80's night vs Dakota with a 5pm tip off. Still working on my outfit but I have set the bar so high....I hope I don't let everyone down.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mad Ants WIN

It's been a busy few days, and I apologize for just now getting a blog up with all the big news that has happened recently. This blog is dedicated to Mad Ants season ticket holder Joe Hobbs who chastised me for being so slovenly in my blog habits the last two days!

If you read this blog then you already know Coach Joey Meyer is no longer with the Mad Ants organization. Coach Meyer is a great guy and I really enjoyed having him be a part of the organization. He is a basketball legend and has forgotten than most of us will ever know about the game of basketball. It was simply a decision in this results oriented business of basketball that we are a part of, and I know it was not an easy one for Jeff Potter to make. I wish Coach Meyer the best and know we will be seeing him soon on a hardwood sideline whether it's college or pro.

With that said, I was very happy and proud of Steve Gansey for getting this HUGE opportunity in his young coaching career to become the new interim Mad Ants Head Coach. Steve is 26 years old and has dedicated his life to basketball. He knows what the task and challenges ahead will be and is more than up to it.

Steve started with the Mad Ants in our 2009-10 season as a volunteer assistant coach. This means he moved to Fort Wayne and paid all of his expenses while here (housing, food etc). All he wanted was an opportunity and a chance to gain experience in the tight knit circle that is the coaching world of professional basketball. In that first season with the team Steve worked his butt off, doing anything and everything the coaching staff or office staff asked of him. He never asked for anything or expected anything. He has truly earned this chance, and I for one hope we can take that "interim" title off very soon!

One thing about Steve is he has a very outgoing social personality. He is one of those guys you cannot help but like and root for. I think we saw that Saturday night when Steve got his first win as head coach in the very friendly confines of the Memorial Coliseum. This really feels like a true "fresh start" for the team and I am very excited about the rest of the season.

A great scene took place in the Mad Ants locker room after the game, with Steve trying to give a quick post-game speech to congratulate the team on a job well done. As he was trying to wind down the speech, Mad Ants President Jeff Potter stepped in said "not so fast". He said something to the effect of "Now I am not sure if you guys know this, but this is Steve's first win as head coach, not in a middle school game, not in a high school game, not in a college game, but in a PROFFESIONAL basketball game and I want to present him with the game ball". The players immediately went crazy and pounced on Steve in a scene from home plate at a baseball game after a grand slam takes place! You can tell he has the respect and affection of the players and I think this will go a long way. They know he has paid his dues the last two years and will work hard for him just as they know he will for them.

Here is an exclusive post-game Martz Madness IPHONE interview with Coach Gansey after his big win. Please pardon the horrible video/sound quality and turn up the volume and watch as I lob some softball questions to Steve.

The game itself was fantastic. Walker Russell JR put up a near triple double with 14 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds. Walker had been struggling lately so it was great to see him get out the slump. Jarrid Famous also was a big presence down low putting up 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

The team is now on a flight to Reno for the NBA D-League Showcase to play Bakersfield on Monday (7:0opm EST) and Tulsa on Thursday (3:45pm EST). The Showcase is where every D-League team gathers in one place to play two games with all 30 NBA teams scouts (along with overseas scouts) in attendance. Great opportunity for the players to earn a 10 day contract with an NBA squad.

The game on Thursday will be broadcast live on NBA TV. I know the office will be taking a lunch break somewhere to watch that one, I will make sure to post it the location for any fans that want to join us.

That is it for now, make sure to tune into FUTURECAST to watch the Bakersfield game online LIVE & FREE on Monday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Player

Quick player update before our road game in Canton Friday night.

The Mad Ants have waived Chris Hunter due to injury. This means we retain his rights and he can return to the roster once healthy. It sounds like Chris can be out anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks.

To fill the roster spot the Mad Ants have traded our 2nd round 2012 draft pick to the Iowa Energy for Jerrid Famous. Famous is a 6'11 big man was a last cut from the Pacer's preseason camp. He was putting up some monster numbers before the NBA lockout ended, and should fill in at center very nicely for us. He has already joined the team in Canton and should play Friday night.

I will be attending the game and will be doing a tweet by tweet from @themadants twitter account. Make sure to check it out on NBA Futurecast. I am sure if you are reading this blog, you have already tried futurecast but if not WHAT IS STOPPING YOU? It is honestly an amazing technology and really ahead of its time. The D-League office has done an amazing job providing this free service to its fans so please take advantage of it. Game tips off at 7:30pm in Canton.

Another tough loss in Reno on Wednesday night... the team made several runs but could never get over the hump to overtake the lead. You can check out the recap/box score here.

See everyone back home at the Coliseum for a 7:30 tip off on Saturday night as Canton will make the drive over for a rematch of Friday's game. Remember the Bucks mascot Bango will be in action, along with the Bucks Dunk team. Should be a great game and great entertainment so bring the family out!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Planes, Games, and Pains

As I continue to try to make blog subjects lamer with each post (I believe I succeeded!) I wanted to give a quick update/recap of our road trip in Reno against the Bighorns.

On Monday our team had a nightmare road trip. They arrived at the Fort Wayne Airport around 7:30am and arrived in Reno after 1:00 am (eastern standard time). This was caused by a missed connecting flight due to weather issues in Fort Wayne Monday morning causing the plane needing to deice before take off.

This is not an excuse but it could not help our cause in a 116 - 103 loss to Reno last night. The game started off very ugly (and continued to be ugly!) with the Mad Ants being down 75-50 during the 3rd quarter. The team then went on a huge run led by Cameron Jones & Ron Howard who cut the lead to six at one point in the 4th quarter. It was not to be and the gap widened towards the end of the fourth.

One bright spot was Ramone Harris who despite the Ants being down big most of the game had a +/- of +12! He was a big part of the run, primarily because of his great defense. I know what your thinking, "Garrett, we know you don't know anything about good defense." True, but I was watching the game with some people who do, including Sebastian Pruiti & Chad Clarke (volunteer assistant coaches with the Mad Ants) and Kyle Thoms (Director of Ticket Sales & Assistant (to the) GM). If you do not know who Sebastian Pruiti is, check out his basketball posts over at . This is Bill Simmons sports website and it has some great content for all things sports.

Bad/Good News depending on who you ask with Darington Hobson being recalled to the Milwaukee Bucks roster today. The Bucks have 5 guys out due to injury so Darington's stay was a little shorter than we expected it would be. It was nice having him on the roster and he certainly was an asset, especially with making the game winner vs LA and being an all around stand up guy while he was in Fort Wayne. There is a chance we could see him again this season.

Chris Hunter is out for the game tonight with an undisclosed (to me) injury. I will try to find out how many games he will miss and let you know in the next post.

Make sure to check out the big return match-up with Reno tonight at 10pm EST. You can watch it live and FREE on NBA Futurecast or via the D-League Center Court App via your smart phone/tablet.

Make sure to head to be at the Coliseum on Saturday as the Mad Ants will be welcoming Canton back to town. This is another back to back game with our guys playing in Canton Friday night, and then bringing the rematch 3.5 hours west to do it all over again on Saturday.

Tip off is at 7:30pm on Saturday with one of my favorite mascots BANGO coming to be the entertainment for the game. Bango is probably one of the best mascots in the world and I encourage you to check it out. Here is a sample of one of his amazing stunts from a Bucks game.
Also, this is one of my favorite NBA ESPN commercials featuring Bango... "You should see his half-time show". It's a shame Darington Hobson was recalled before Bucks night but hey it happens.

I will check in with my thoughts on tonight's game tomorrow and any more news I can dig up for the coming weekends game. I am still working on coming up with a good tag line...SAME ANT TIME SAME ANT BLOG (work in progress)

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Buck stops here...

Wow, my blog title is so bad it's funny! This is for Heidi who said I did not have enough witty comments in my why start now.

It was a very exciting game last night as the Mad Ants beat Canton 104-103 on a game winner by Milwaukee Bucks assigned player Darington Hobson with 21 seconds left. Canton played pinball with the last possession with the ball bouncing all over the rim but thankfully not in!

(photo courtesy of Randy Jackson)

Apparently Hobson only needed one game to get his bearings, as his second outing last night was off the charts! He was in the starting line up and put up a very well rounded 22 points (6-10 FG), 5 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals. I am sure Bucks fans will be happy to see Darington doing so well in such a short period back. Darington missed his entire rookie season with the Bucks as he was out with an injury. This was his chance at getting some real run in a pro game to date and he clearly excelled.

Hobson has also brought the right attitude to the Mad Ants for his D-League assignment, he was very vocal and animated being a positive force both on the court and bench for his new teammates. I heard through the grapevine that Darington wanted this assignment to the D-League as he did not want to be sitting on the Bucks bench getting no minutes. It would be especially tough for him to get into game shape with the Bucks as the NBA has a busier than usual schedule with the shortened compacted season. This is what the D-League is here for and glad to see Darington and the Bucks using it so well.

This broke a four game losing streak for the Ants and I really feel this is a turning point for the team. I honestly do not remember the Mad Ants ever having a more talented and deep roster. Hopefully this momentum continues on the roadtrip to Reno, with the team currently sitting on a plane at FWA waiting for it to deice. I encourage everyone to watch on NBA Futurecast, as it is an amazing technology for this league and really leaps & bounds of ahead of other minor leagues. Plus it's free! Tip off for the Reno game is 10pm ET on Tuesday.

I did miss some big news with my blog yesterday. We traded Marvin Phillips JR to Erie for a 4th round draft pick. Marvin was a fan favorite (as well as office favorite!) and will be missed. I was pretty surprised by the move, but that is why I get paid to sell stuff and not make basketball decisions.

Here is our roster as it stands today:

C -Chris Hunter
PF- Darnell Lazare
PF/C - Sean Sonderleiter
F - Gilbert Brown
F- Ramon Harris
G/F - Cameron Jones
G/F - Darington Hobson (assigned by Milwaukee Bucks)
G- Ron Howard
G- Walker Russell Jr
G - Tory Jackson

We still have one open roster spot as we can have up to 12 players, as long as any over ten our NBA assigned players. This spot will likely be filled by a returning Sadiel Rojas who was waived due to injury. He is traveling with the team and may play tomorrow night.

Now if you have not already go check out NBA Future Cast or download the D-League Center Court App for your smart phone or IPAD!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fresh Start

Happy 2012! I hope everyone had a great time ringing in the new years and now is ready to continue the celebration with a Mad Ants victory today!

Very tough loss on Friday against LA that went into overtime. On paper our roster is stacked, but I am sure there is still an ongoing gelling process. Now that we have a couple games under our belt with the the returning camp players I am expecting big things today vs Canton. Canton is coming off a game last night, so hopefully their road weariness plays a little to our advantage today.

More roster news that went down yesterday with Corey Allmond being waived. Gilbert Brown has been added to the roster. Brown was recently in the Boston Celtics training camp. He is a 6'6 Guard/Forward out of Pitt. He is very athletic and should be a nice contributor for the Ants right out of the gate. Check out his highlights from his senior year at Pitt via our friends at YouTube.

It's always hard letting a guy like Corey Allmond go, especially with him being with the team for all of last season. When it comes down to it, this is still a business and the GM/Coaching staff simply felt it was the right time and a good opportunity to pick up a player like Gilbert. I have no doubt Corey will get picked up by another D-League team or overseas team very soon. I wish him the best of luck in the future and hope he enjoyed his time in Fort Wayne.

It really says something about the level of talent we have on the team when guys like Corey are being waived. The roster is simply stacked and don't forget we still have Bucks assigned player Darington Hobson. He got his feet wet on Friday but I am sure we will see him play a significantly bigger role int he games to come.

Tip off is at 5pm tonight and make sure to bring your can tabs to the Ronald McDonald Tabathon collection area by the program stand. You will get a free breakfast sandwich and a Mad Ants scrip ticket. Plus one fan who donates will get upgraded to court side for the game. This is an ongoing program and we will be collecting tabs at every Sunday home game this season.

Well I am off to the Coliseum, I hope to see you all there!