The Fort Wayne Mad Ants remain atop the Central Division in the Eastern Conference of the NBA G League. With so many adjustments with guys being recalled to the NBA affiliate Indiana Pacers, or Pacers’ players being assigned for a brief stint in Fort Wayne. For them to still be sitting in first place of the division shows how they make adjustments and still manage to accumulate victories.
Most recently, both Glenn Robinson III and Ike Anigbogu were both assigned in Fort Wayne. On Thursday, Robinson III made his season debut (rehabbing from ankle surgery) versus the Wisconsin Herd. That’s some tremendous star power, but a tough adjustment for a coach to make. It was announced yesterday by the Pacers that Robinson III has been re-assigned to Fort Wayne. So he may be spending a couple more games or so in the NBA G League.
Rookie forward Ben Moore just a few weeks ago was given a two-way contract with the Pacers. Even though he has come off the bench pretty much every game this season, he’s still averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. This move marked the first time in franchise history that the Indiana Pacers actually called up from someone from the NBA G League.
Two other players that could definitely use some publicity include forwards Jarrod Uthoff and DeQuan Jones. Uthoff has been a near double-double machine averaging 16.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He’s really expanded his game offensively and has shown tremendous improvement cleaning the glass in Fort Wayne. Jones is their Draymond Green of sorts. He gets in the opposing team’s faces and seems to be the anchor that holds the defense together. Then you add in his 14.7 points per game and impresses you that much more.
Guard Walt Lemon Jr. has been phenomenal for the Mad Ants this season. Lemon Jr. is currently averaging 22.1 points, 6.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.2 steals per game. Not only have Fort Wayne fans recognized his star power, but so has the NBA G League who named him as a Mid-Season Eastern Conference All-Star.
Recently, I was able to ask Mad Ants Head Coach Steve Gansey a few questions to kind of reflect on the first half of the season.
DC: So coach Gansey. Let’s look at where the team is right now. Your Mad Ants are sitting at first place in the Central. What has been working well for you guys in the first half of the season?
SG: Understanding our strengths which is pushing the ball offensively with setting pace and tempo. We want to push. Getting to the free-throw line because we shoot a good percentage. It’s just a great group where Everyone is understanding their roles and playing to their strengths in games. Continuing to get 1% better every day has been our standard.
DC: One of the toughest things I imagine for a NBA G league coach is dealing with so many changes. You’ve dealt with so many already this year. What’s the toughest adjustment or is there any?
SG: Toughest adjustment is knowing who is going to play and who’s not and game planning for them. League rule is opposing teams have up to 60 min to report who is active before a game. My assistant have to have film ready and everyone who could possibly play (2-Way, assignments)
Also, chemistry plays a huge factor. Adding players to a game and making sure they play certain amount of minutes is tough. Some guys have never played with others.
DC: Lastly, what did you think of Walt Lemon Jr. making the NBA G League mid-season All-Star list?
SG: Well-deserved! He’s our hardest worker and has really improved his game and is becoming a great PG for us. He has NBA athleticism and can fly! Couldn’t happen to a greater guy!