Following the All-Star break, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants made a number of roster moves. Sadiel Rojas and Sean Sonderleiter have been waived due to injury. Mike Tisdale left the team due to personal reasons, and Devan Downey has been reactivated.
Downey, the 5-foot-9 guard from South Carolina, has provided a spark for the Mad Ants off the bench with his strong guard play, defensive skills and the ability to drive to the basket. Downey has a true shooting percentage of 54 percent, and is an effective scorer. After 5 games with the Mad Ants, Downey averaged 23 minutes, 11 points and four assists per game. In his last game before being injured, Downey had 20 points, nine assists and four steals against the Springfield Armor.
With two roster spots open, the Mad Ants turned to the NBA D-League player pool and acquired 26-year-old Kevin Coble and 25-year-old Ben McCauley.
Coble, a 6-foot-8 forward from Northwestern, played for three years for the Wildcats. He missed his true senior year (2009-2010) after a preseason injury to his foot and was red shirted. He decided not to play the next year, opting to focus on graduating in 2010.
During his time with the Wildcats, Coble led the team in scoring and rebounding averaging 15 points and five rebounds per game. Coble is ranked fourteenth in career scoring at Northwestern with 1,203 points.
"[Kevin] Coble hasn't played in a couple years, but he is a flat out shooter, and gives us a little more size in the wing. He's not the biggest, strongest guy but he knows how to play," Mad Ants Coach Steve Gansey told Ridiculous Upside, "He's from the Northwestern system which has a fundamental base and is really specific so we expect a lot of things out of him."
McCauley, a 6-foot-8 forward from North Carolina State, played eight games in the 2010-11 season of the French Pro-A League for Roanne -- averaging 7.6 points and 7.5 rebounds. He was invited to this year's Portland Trailblazers training camp, but was waived before the NBA season began.
Down in the post is where McCauley gets most of his points, but he's also a skilled passer who can make plays happen out of the high post. McCauley has a solid jump shot and is skilled at rebounding on both ends of the floor. His low number of turnovers stands out and hints at his ability to take care of the basketball.
"With [Ben] McCauley we expect him to be a big time rebounder and a guy who's going to be physical in the post," Gansey said.
The Mad Ants are second to last in the NBA D-League Eastern Conference with a 10-25 record and are currently on a 9-game losing streak. On Tuesday night they travel to Pennsylvania to play the 15-17 Erie Bayhawks. With 15 games left in the season, the team is hoping their roster changes help to turn the team around.
"We had to make some changes. When something is not going well you have to do something about it. The pattern of our team is that we're losing and that's something that we have to try to fix and we will fix it," Gansey told Ridiculous Upside. "We need to change our pattern -- instead of losing, we need to start winning games."