On Friday, the NBA D-League recognized Mad Ants guard Ron Howard as its recipient of the 2014 Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award. This season marks the second consecutive year the 31 year old has earned such an honor.
"Role model" may not be a term thrown around all too often when referring to D-League athletes, simply because such prospects are still waiting in the wings for their own respective shot to break into The Association. Having said that, if there ever were an ideal one to make note of, Howard would be it.
A seven year veteran of NBADL competition, Howard has continued to improve, staying focused while remaining patient along the way. As Howard waits for his call, he keeps winning and being able to lead his team's success all in prospective. He's a great teammate, a well known community figure, and is undoubtedly well respected all across the minor league.
And if his off the court impact in town isn't convincing enough, Howard's M.V.P-esque campaign this past season was enough to lead Fort Wayne to a first seed finish in the D-League. Their 34 wins were more than any other squad, and as fate would have it, the Mad Ants are still competing in the semi-finals en route to a potential championship.
Here's a statement from the NBA D-League:
"As the only two-time NBA D-League Sportsmanship Award winner, Ron has proven that he is the true definition of a great teammate and a fierce competitor," said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA D-League. "Over the past seven seasons, Ron has demonstrated his steadfast commitment to excelling on and off the court. He is not only a celebrated member of the Fort Wayne community, but is an important part of the NBA D-League family, serving as a role model for his teammates and competitors alike. I congratulate him on an exceptional season in Fort Wayne and thank him for his commitment to the Mad Ants and the NBA D-League."
And recently, Howard spoke with us at RidiculousUpside.com about his community involvement as well:
"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."
Needless to say, Howard should been recognized as quite the role model of sorts for young guns on the up. It's safe to say the minor league realizes that with this latest honor.