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.