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Fort Wayne's Returning Players

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<a href="">Chris Hunter</a>, among others, will be back in Fort Wayne this season.
Chris Hunter, among others, will be back in Fort Wayne this season.

It's not just the Dakota Wizards that are returning a strong core from last season.  The Fort Wayne Mad Ants are bringing back Chris Hunter, Ron Howard, Anthony Kent, DeWitt Scott and Sean Sonderleiter.  (And other teams have returning players as well, but we're going one at a time, here.)  The Mad Ants didn't do particularly well last season, finishing 19-31, but it wasn't for lack of talent and but they have a new (good) coaching staff this year in Joey Meyers and Mike Sanders that should get the team on track.

Chris Hunter was called up by the New York Knicks at the end of last season and lasted until this year's preseason.  He's a power forward/center who can shoot from the midrange and rebound pretty well.  He was the team's leading scorer and made the all-D-League second team last season, so getting him back was key.  I don't know how long he'll be around, as he could do well in the NBA and still could be in the Knicks' radar if one of their big guys goes down, butu he's a Mad Ant for now.

Ron Howard was another Knicks training camp/preseason guy, and while he played a fair amount in Summer League it took him some time to get comfortable.  Howard's main asset is his defense, and he played a lot of small forward last season even though he's 6'5".  He's an inconsistent rebounder, and although he increased his scoring output last season it came with a lower field goal percentage.

Anthony Kent was almost a nonentity for the first four months of last season, talented but unable to translate it into playing well.  He started to show flashes of what he could really do around late February, and what he can do is rebound and score inside.  By March and April he was putting up lines of 18 points on 10 shots and 10 rebounds, 11 points and 22 rebounds, and 18 points and 15 rebounds.  He's an athletic power forward/center who the Mad Ants hope can develop into a night in-night out double-double guy alongside Hunter.  Fouls and turnovers are still issues, but as I mentioned up top, Fort Wayne have a really solid coaching staff now, and if they can get Kent on track the team should definitely do better than 19-31.

DeWitt Scott is a good three-point shooter, making almost 38 percent of his outside shots last year.  He doesn't turn the ball over much or get into foul trouble, but he also doesn't really rebound or distribute either.  He's a bit streaky as a shooter, but his hot streaks are pretty good.  Sean Sonderleiter was a backup big man last year, and likely will be this year.  Is it possible to bring energy without athleticism?  Because if so then Sonderleiter probably does that.  He has good size for a center and rebounds pretty well, but he's not what you'd call "quick."

All in all this is a pretty good core for the Mad Ants, with some outside shooting, defense and rebounding all present.  As that article mentioned Walker Russell is playing overseas this season, meaning there's no point guard (and Russell was one of the D-League's best last year, if not the best), so look for them to target that position in tomorrow's draft.