On Thursday evening, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants will continue this season's quest for an NBA D-League championship by taking on the Santa Cruz Warriors in game one of The Finals.
Though the team has a tremendous coaching staff and talented players sprinkled across the roster from top to bottom, there's no doubt that seven year NBADL veteran Ron Howard, is largely to thank after leading the way with quite the successful campaign.
And while such efforts could potentially be culminated by a minor league title in the days to come, the NBA D-League has already chosen to do its part to recognize Howard's special year in the meantime.
The veteran, along with the Iowa Energy's Othyus Jeffers, have been named the D-League's co-Most Valuable Players for the 2013-14 season. It's the first such honor for each player.
With Howard's Mad Ants just two wins away from an NBADL championship, it goes without saying why he should have garnered worthwhile consideration for the award, let alone the award itself. In addition to leading his team to a first seeded finish in the league, Howard averaged 20.5 points (on 47% from the field), 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.6 steals through 49 contests.
Like Howard, Jeffers led the way for his team this season towards quite the turnaround. After finishing with the worst record in all of the D-League last season, the forward helped resurrect the Energy en route to a division title. In addition to playing out a ten-day contract with the Spurs earlier this year, Jeffers recently inked a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He averaged 20.9 points (on 49% from the field), 9.9 boards, 3.6 assists, and 2.2 steals in 44 games.