On March 29th, 2014, seven year NBA D-League veteran Ron Howard broke the minor league's all-time scoring record, surpassing fellow vet and Bakersfield Jam swingman Renaldo Major.
Such an accomplishment wasn't much of a surprise, but much rather a perfect culmination of all of the guard's impressive success over the years.
"I was really happy that [the record] happened in Fort Wayne, and not on the road," said the man otherwise known as Mr. Mad Ant. "From coming in and then to realize where I am now, it's a big accomplishment. It's not something I was keeping track of. Someone told me at the beginning of the season that I was approaching it. That was the extent of it. I want to prove to NBA scouts, coaches, and executives that I deserve a chance. That's my thing."
Howard recently spoke with RidiculousUpside.com about his continued success as a minor league star. Despite quite a steady career making his mark on the D-League hardwood, the 31 year old is yet to receive an NBA call-up of his own. Still, he continues to improve as the seasons go on. What's more, the recent success of "older" players like himself making an impact as they break into The Association undoubtedly allows the guard to hold out hope.
Even so, Howard himself isn't quite sure what else he can do to ensure an NBA team finally takes a chance on him. "I don't know, honestly. I really don't know. At the same time, I think we all know as players it comes down to finding the right opportunity," he added. "Maybe there's a little bit of luck --- being at the right place at the right time, or someone seeing you at an opportune time. I'm trying to put it in God's hands, so whatever He wants to happen will happen."
In the meantime, Howard is staying focused, and has put his own respective stamp on the city of Fort Wayne over the years, just as much as the city has made a similar impression on him. "I didn't know I'd find a home there. I didn't think I'd ever live in Fort Wayne, having come from Chicago. But they've welcomed my family and I with open arms. It's a wonderful city to raise a family in," Howard continued. "We made the decision to move there. We started our business there. We have a sports camp that we run over the summer. We play six different sports over six weeks. There's a party every Friday. We have speakers come in and talk to the kids. We do a lot of things."
This season, Howard only continued his excellence, having averaged 20.5 points (on 47% from the field), 4.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and 1.6 steals through 49 contests. Even more importantly, however, he's helped lead the Mad Ants along through a promising run towards an NBADL title. Currently competing in the minor league's postseason, Fort Wayne earned 34 wins during the regular season, good for first seed in the D-League.
Such stellar numbers, coupled with the impact the proven stud has had on his team's impressive success, undoubtedly qualifies Howard as a favorite for the league's M.V.P. award. Needless to say, such an honor is well deserved, perhaps this season more than ever over the course of the legend's storied minor league journey.
Despite his respectable numbers and proven track record, Howard played it coy when asked about the potentially forthcoming honor, insisting he has other priorities in mind.
"That's another thing, that coming into this season, I wasn't concerned about that at all. Not that, not making D-League First Team, or any of those things. My goal is to continue improving and show scouts [his progress], while also helping my team win basketball games," he concluded. "The M.V.P. thing came up --- Coach Joel Abelson in Reno was the first person I remember mentioning it, but there are so many talented players in this league. I doubt it'll be me."