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.