It's hard to be mad. Yes, I'm an Ants fan. Why wouldn't I be? I live in Fort Wayne. And yes, the Ants ended up disappointing (once again) and leaving their Tuesday night crowd with a loss. But it was nice to be watching some D-League basketball that wasn't on FutureCast. I love FutureCast, but I can only stand watching basketball on a small square so much. It's good to see the Ants back home.
There's really a lot to say about this game. Carl Elliott looks a lot like Baron Davis (and the headband was icing on the cake). The Mad Ants announcer stopped yelling "MAD ANT BASKETBALL" after every single Flash turnover (I always wish he would stop doing this, and it seems he has for now). I finally opened my ears to what the Bailey Bunch are saying, and I was amused to no end. I can pretty much guarantee that some old guy is going to give me free tickets to every Ants' home game (this is why I don't buy season tickets - that and I'm a poor college boy). The Pistons' half-time trampoline dunk team consists of a lot of very young white kids and a middle-aged black man (it was Pistons' affiliate night, and I was hoping for the Ants to don some Pistons jerseys, but it wasn't meant to be). Chris Brown is a sleazebag. I had some really good pizza prior to the game. Dontell Jefferson had me in awe. And as for Steve Newman? But a simple postal worker...
The Bailey Bunch loved to pick on Newman. As well as J.R. Giddens. I can't remember too much of what was said but I did notice a J.R. baseline dunk, afterwards he ran down court and looked over at the hecklers, however I was on the other side of the court...and saw no mouth moving. Awesome information, right? Anyways, the Bailey Bunch are a clever group. I laughed on a few occasions. And I don't laugh. Just ask my parents.
But back to Mr. Newman. He had a really crazy nice jump shot for a big white guy. Gavin Grant put a few really nice looks and Ryan Diggs has a motor implanted in him somewhere. Wowza, that kid is fast. Giddens was very solid. Off the bench to shoot 9 for 13? Beautiful. Countless dunks by the rook, and you knew when his shot went up that it was gonna fall. I've always been iffy on Giddens, but he sold me last night. He seemed pretty happy to be back with the Flash and I like seeing that. Carlos Wheeler impressed me too. Lots of atheliticism for the 30 year old forward.
The box score claims Andre Ingram was on the court for 27 minutes. I'm not believing it. He did so much nothing out there, though it's hard to fault him as Utah escaped with the win. Not to mention the team shot 60% from the field. But you can chalk that up more to Giddens and the three other starters that aren't Bennet Davis.
Dontell Jefferson. Oh wow. This guy easily has the prettiest shot I have ever seen in my life. He put up just 8 during the game but I gasped every single time. Not to mention he's a great floor general who plays really solid defense. He's also long to boot, and with just one simple step he can get in front of his man. Yes, I love Walker Russell, but Jefferson is a beastly NBA ready point guard, moreso than anyone else in the league. So quick and with a great jumper, he can also pilfer like Carl Weathers in church (this joke will probably go over your heads as it's really stupid, but the video concerns "change" - which people often donate to churches during the collection portion of the mass, and Carl Weathers plays a very cheap version of himself in my favorite TV show, Arrested Development- very funny stuff here at Ridiculous Upside).
Despite his 5 turnovers, James Lang was a force. He put up 21 points and grabbed 7 boards and seemed to dominate in the paint all night. Ronald Dupree was as good as ever, putting his fair share of 20 points. Utah is a team. They pass well, they execute well, and they can shoot your lights out if you give them too much, and that's exactly what they did last night on the Mad Ants. And they are solid at the point and center positions, and that's what wins games.
As for the Ants, they shot 52% - they just didn't want to play defense, I suppose. Coleman Collins was visibly frustrated most of the game, Carl Elliott could never get his shot going, Dewitt Scott pulled a Andre Ingram and managed to blend into the court during his 20 minutes, and Walker Russell's scoring hasn't gotten any more accurate. But on the positive (up)side, Chris Hunter had a great double-double on the night with 23 and 10 and missed only 4 shots. Hunter has progressed so much since the season started. He's much more powerful when he goes up to the basket now. Countless times last night he would explode from down low, plowing through three Flash big men, and going up for a huge slam and getting the crowd off their feet. "Big Game" Hunter had a big game indeed. NBA ready? I'd say so. I'm looking at you, Kevin McHale.
Ron Howard was great offensively on his way to 26 points. This guy cuts to the basket so well. So many textbook lay ups for Mr. Howard. He's a great fundamental basketball player. He is indeed the leader of this team and it's a shame he takes a backseat (middle, his feet on the hump) to Russell and Hunter most of the time. Taj McCullough had a solid game off the bench for 20 points in 30 minutes, but for a PF to not grab a single rebound in that time? Taj loves to score, and I love to see him score, but he needs to develop his game beyond just that one area.
Overall, it's nice to be back in the Memorial Coliseum watching some solid NBADL action. It would have been nice to see the Ants pull out the W, but Utah is simply the better team. Even my girlfriend, who knows nothing about basketball and tunes me off when I go on and on about it, mentioned how well they move the ball. And Dontell Jefferson should be in the NBA. I know here at RU we've been praising this man left and right lately, but for good reason. I saw him in person for the first time tonight and he is indeed the real deal. The Orlando Magic could have used his services as anyone under 6'5" has more upside as a point guard than Tyronn Lue (I also hear from absolutely nobody that Jefferson is a mean chef with a specialty for sauces). Then again, this team also passed up Russell and Will Conroy so when it comes to decision making abilities with Orlando....well, let's just say you shouldn't leave things like that up to "magic."
But I'll stop yelling at NBA teams now. Also, J.R. Giddens' new nickname is "the Mayor." I made it up. And it's very good. But that's all I have today. Have a wonderful day DL fans, and please, eat well.
P.S. How AWESOME would it have been for the Magic to call up Majic Dorsey? Oh man, that would have made my life that much better.