Thursday, December 30, 2010
Idaho has really remade their team in the past couple of days. Scott Schroeder is reporting that they have outright released Salim Stoudamire today and brought back Jermario Davidson. Davidson is a really talented big man who will give them a real threat down low that I don't think they have had all year. As for Salim, I thought that was a risky pick, and it seems I have been proven right. I know the Stoudamire clan well because I played with his brother Antoine (an outstanding college player), and I know they have really diverse interests, and I don't know if hoops was that important to Salim anymore. If it is, I hope he will get picked up, because he is a great kid and a great player.
Erie made an interesting move yesterday. Erie is one of the top teams in the league right now in big part to Cedric Jackson, their point guard who was called up on numerous occasions last year. In a surprise move, they traded him last night to Idaho for a future first rounder and resigned D-League all star Blake Ahearn.
To be honest, I'm not sure how this affects Erie. Jackson and Ahearn have different strengths and weaknesses, and it will be interesting to watch how their team dynamic changes/improves/whatever tonight against a very hot Maine (4-1 in their last 5) team.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
To be honest, I'm not sure how this affects Erie. Jackson and Ahearn have different strengths and weaknesses, and it will be interesting to watch how their team dynamic changes/improves/whatever tonight against a very hot Maine (4-1 in their last 5) team.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Last night, the Mad Ants fell to the Iowa Energy, and I think that may have been one of our worst performances of the year. Our guys came out flat, and Iowa came out ready to prove that they are still the best team in this league. They are a team of proud professionals, and I thought they won that game because they simply wanted it more. Curtis Stinson, Courtney Sims, Othyus Jeffers (a personal favorite of mine), and Kyle Weaver played as good a game as I have seen all year from an opposing team, and they were able to outlast our guys in the end.
Coaches Meyer and Gansey have a big issue to deal with right now, and that is how to make sure that this team is ready to play so they are not giving up 10-15 point leads all the time. We can't keep doing that game in and game out and expect to win, especially against the great teams in this league like Iowa.
Moreover, when we do fall behind, the team has to understand that is when you really have to depend on your system and work through the offense to get great shots every time. We kept on jacking up quick jumpers, and it was like pouring gas on a fire -- Iowa took great advantage and created a lead that we could not ultimately take back in spite of outscoring them for the rest of the game. The guys have to settle in for a long comeback by running the offense and playing great D -- not by trying to make a comeback in a desperate fashion with three quarters left to play.
I guess I am left to look at the bright side: I though Iowa played great, I thought we played poorly, and we were still right there in the final three minutes with a chance to win the game. If we can shore up some of those loose ends, we can keep rising as a team with a chance to be the top team in this league.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Chris Kramer has been moved back to the active roster for the Mad Ants and will be in uniform tonight with the Mad Ants. However, do not expect him to play. He still needs a bit more time to get back into shape and test his knee in some live action at practice, so we are moving him to be with the guys and stay in uniform. Look for Chris to make his first game back with the Ants this Saturday against the Maine Red Claws.
Correspondingly, Chris Hunter was waived due to injury. He had successful surgery on his achilles with the very capable Dr. Jerry Cooper last night at FWO, and he will begin the road to recovery ASAP. I think we speak for all Mad Ants fans when we wish him the very best during this rehab, and that we will be there to support him in any way we can.
Monday, December 27, 2010
I mentioned it briefly in my recap, but it deserves more attention than just a blurb. Oliver Lafayette earned player of the week for his great efforts this past week. Oliver is clearly rounding into great form, and I am impressed with how quickly he has meshed with his teammates. I will put our three wings up with anyone right now, and I look forward to seeing their continued growth. Great work, O!
Chris Hunter continues to have just awful luck in regards to injuries. On Christmas night, he was felled with a torn achilles. He had surgery today, but, needless to say, he will be out the rest of the year.
Undoubtedly a tough break, but this team is good enough to win without him, and my expectations without Chris. We will add Chris Kramer back later this week, and we will continue on our quest for a D-League championship.
What a great weekend for Mad Ants fans! We won both games this past weekend, and we finally got the Iowa monkey off our back with our improbable come from behind win last night. An outstanding effort by our team when it was in no way playing its best. Here are my quick hit thoughts:
- I thought Walker really played some great ball in the fourth quarter, especially when he struggled in the first three quarters. I think Walker struggles when he tries to do too much on the court, but let's face it, his struggles are really struggles. He is playing some of the best ball of his career and is helping this team finish games in a great way.
- The other stud in the backcourt is Oliver Lafayette, who is clearly starting to find his rhythm. In fact, due to his fine play this weekend, he was just named D-League Player of the Week. A great honor for a great player.
- I thought Rod Wilmont struggled like I have never seen him struggle in his shooting, but I love the way he played through it and played great D and hit a critical 15 foot jumper to give us some breathing room at the end of the game. There is no let down in this young man's effort.
- What a yeoman's job by our three bigs this past game. AK played some outstanding defense, Marv hit critical shots and grabbed monstrous boards, and Darnell continued to show he is one of the best bigs in the post this year.
- The comeback would not have happened without our bench play. Obi, Corey, and Carlos were just outstanding last night.
A great win for the team, and I hope they are hungry to come back with another one tomorrow night!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
I just read an article that many of you might find interesting, especially if you love Michael Jordan like I do. He is going through some real struggles with his team in Charlotte, and he is having to start all over again after he fired Larry Brown. The best advice I have received in doing this job is to trust your gut, and it sounds like he may have learned that the hard way through some draft mistakes. I really root for him (Hall of Fame speech notwithstanding), and I hope that this works out for him with Silas and Oakley. If they can add X-Man to this mix, they will indeed have the toughest coaching staff in the league!
Although a recent commenter called this type of update nonsense, I do like to give people a sense of what our old players are doing, because I take great joy in seeing what our old Mad Ants are doing and that they are doing well. So, here is the latest update:
- Ron Howard had his first game last night in Australia, and he had a heck of a good start for the Adelaide 36ers. He scored 17 points in 20 minutes and his team fell in overtime. Ron needed a good start with a team, and I think he got it last night. Let's hope that this is just the start of something good for Ron.
- Sean Sonderleiter is seeing his minutes really decrease in Germany, and I have no idea what is going on. Sean was one of the best bigs in the D-League last year, and he was playing even better this past summer. Last game he played just 9 minutes and scored 2 points. I am sure he is frustrated, but I hope he will be patient and keep working, and I am sure everything will work out.
- Jared Reiner's team lost to Sondy's Ulm team this week, and Jared scored 16 points in the loss.
- Coleman Collins had probably his worst game of the season against Reiner's team with just 2 points in 16 minutes.
- Rob Kurz's team in Spain stinks, and it doesn't look like he is getting many open looks right now. He shot just 2-10 in getting 9 points, but he continues to crash the boards hard with 13 rebounds. Rob continues to be one of the top performers in the ACB by being 8th in the league in scoring with 14.1 ppg and 1st in rebounding with 9.7 rpg.
- Ryan Ayers continues to have a very solid season in Finland, and his team won their last game and Ryan contributed 15 points in the win.
- Kyle McAlarney continues to have a solid start to his season in Greece with 11 points in a loss. Kyle looks to be shooting well, and I hope that he will continue that and last the whole season.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
I got some great feedback from readers regarding our website and how we have to do a better job of updating it. I want you all to know how thankful I am for your comments, and we are working on getting this up to speed presently. You are right -- this is not the place to come for team news, it should be the website, and we are working on trying to get that thing revamped so you can have a one stop shop for any info you need on the Mad Ants. As one of the writers mentioned, this is where people come for nonsense (I freely admit my nonsensical ways!), and we have to have something that is a bit more serious. So, thanks again for the comments and please keep them coming as we try to do a better job on updating our website.
Christmas week is always a busy one for everyone, and I hope you faithful readers are done with all your shopping and ready to enjoy a restful few days before Christmas. For us, it is a bit of a different week, because we are going to be hosting the Springfield Armor on Christmas night. It could be an interesting tradition that we start, and I hope we can see many families come on out to see the Mad Ants try to push themselves to 8-4. Before I start talking about the next game, let's talk about what happened this past Sunday against the Erie BayHawks:
- The guys had yet another slow and frustrating start to the game, and had me running high in the arena to prevent myself from saying something bad to the team or refs. I wanted to beat Erie badly because of the way they had handled us the previous two times we played them, and that start did not leave me in the best mood. To the team's credit, they turned it around, but the team has to show more urgency out of the gate, because it these slow starts can bite us before long.
- They turned it around because they really started to click on defense and forced a number of turnovers. For the game, Erie had 31 turnovers and, as I wrote when we played Tulsa, you just can't beat good teams with that type of number for turnovers.
- If there is one trait that I like about our team after these first 10-11 games, it is that there is no quit in our guys. Whether they are struggling or not, they keep plugging away, and we saw it again this past Sunday. If they can continue with that type of effort and play smart, we are going to have success.
Friday, December 17, 2010
As frustrated as I was about last night's game doesn't even compare to how happy and relieved I am after a gritty and gutty win by our guys tonight.
First and foremost, they did not have nearly the turnovers they did last night. Second, we held them to twelve offensive boards for the night, much improved from the night before. Finally, it just seemed like something clicked in the second half.
I IM'd my brother Zak that it felt like we were having the fight taken to us in the first half, and I was worried going into the second. But Joey must have had a great half time message, because the guys came out and destroyed Tulsa in the third. They outscored the 66ers 31-5 in the third quarter, and that has to be some type of record for the team. From there, they made a charge to get it to eight, but Walker found a cutting Oliver for a lay up, Marv grabbed a rebound on the other end, and Walker found a streaking Rod for a lay up to push it back to 12 and essentially end the game.
I think adding Oliver probably upset the apple cart and got everyone off track a bit, but it seemed to click in the third quarter, and they finished out a tough win on the road. Chris Hunter, who has been battling through injuries, should get a ton of credit for battling through some ailments to play a great game tonight. Oliver had a great second half and made huge buckets for us. Marvin Phillips was a monster and two nasty dunks on the 66ers when we needed it. Finally, Walker Russell, Jr. battled and battled and was the key cog in that second half, as evidenced by his plus 23 mark for the game (the new and fun plus/minus stat).
Great win for all. Now, we have a formidable Erie coming in that we haven't even come close to beating in three tries, and they are going to be even better because they added Jeff Adrien, a very good player who has joined the D-League after starting the season with the Golden State Warriors. But, if we focus on us, we should be fine. Go Ants!
Ron Howard -- fresh off the birth of his little baby girl, Peyton -- is back to work and headed Down Under to play for the Adelaide 36ers. This could be a great move for Ron, as Australia is a place where guys don't come back if they can play well and fit in.
Ron has had a couple of tough international stops thus far, but here is hoping this one will due the trick and will be the start of a long, successful overseas career.
I thought last night's game was very disappointing, because we had yet another shot to bring a game home that we should have won. Yet, we (no team for that matter) can beat a team as good as Tulsa (and make no mistake, they are very good) if you commit 30 turnovers. Tulsa has a very good defense, but our turnovers were high because of how careless the team was with the ball. Indeed, in tennis parlance, we had a ton of unforced errors. Lazy outlet passes negated good defensive stops, lack of ball fakes made for easy steals, and weak, lazy cross court passes led to fast break points for the 66ers.
Shot selection was another thing that was head scratching. The 66ers had no answers for our three headed monster down low (Phillips 21 points, Lazare 16 points, and Hunter 17 points), but it seemed like we could have gone down low to them more to let them go to work. If the big men are being that productive, the guards have to get them ball and let them go to work. If Tulsa doubles, it is going to create easier shots for everyone, and the guards will be able to shoot open instead of contested jumpers.
Finally, the team was atrocious on the defensive boards. Tulsa had 24 offensive rebounds and Latavious Williams had 10 of those. Two words will help eliminate that -- block out!
With all that said, the team still had a chance to win in regulation (a credit to their never say die attitude -- these guys keep battling no matter what!), and another shot to win in overtime, but couldn't pull it out. And, frankly, they probably shouldn't have pulled the game out with such a sloppy performance. In fact, we have lost two games in row due to careless, sloppy play by our guys, and we have to expect more from this team. They are playing hard, but I don't think they are playing very smart, and if a team does not put both those elements together, they will lose like they did last night. Every team in this league has enough talent to win on any given night, and we are going to sit here with a lot of could ofs and should ofs if this team doesn't realize that immediately.
Can you tell I am still a little more than peeved about last night's loss?! The good news is that Joey will get it straightened out, and these guys work very hard with one goal in mind -- winning. Let's see if we can't get back on the right track tonight.
Alright, I have been busy beyond belief, and it is cutting into my blogging time! The best news (and a bit late on here) is that we have Oliver Lafayette back on the team. This is obviously a huge shot in the arm for an already good team. Oliver is one of the best players to ever wear our jersey, and he led us to the most success we have ever had on the basketball court.
He should fit in well with Walker and Rod on the wings, and it gives us another ball handler who can go and get his own shot when needed. This is a big signing for us, and once they all start to mesh, could mean we go on a nice little run.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Some good, some bad this past weekend with our games against the Texas Legends. Here are my quick hit thoughts on the games:
- Really a great win for us in the first game of the back to back. The team got down by 15 in the second quarter, but systematically worked its way back in it, and took over for good once they got the lead in the third quarter.
- Walker Russell, Jr. continued his fine play with 20 points, 11 assists, and only 1 turnover, and Darnell Lazare had his best game with the Mad Ants with 29 points and 10 boards.
- Beyond those two great games, I thought Anthony Kent had his best game with the Mad Ants. With Chris Hunter going down with a back injury, AK came in and gave us a great spark by hitting the boards and giving us some great looks in the post. I thought he had a very nice weekend overall.
- Corey Allmond was fantastic behind the arc hitting 7-11 on his way to a career high 24 points. He still has a long way to go in regards to his play on the defensive end and being more consistent offensive end to be considered a quality, NBA caliber prospect, but he is working every day to get better, and I think fans got to see a glimpse of his potential on Saturday night.
- This was a really disappointing loss, because all the chips fell our way in terms of a possibility of a sweep. The Legends had lost two of their best players the previous night in Joe Alexander and Domique Jones, and they were certainly short handed. The worry in these situations is that the team in our situation will exhale and think they are going to just walk out on the court and win, and I think our guys fell into that trap and ended up losing the game. We had a chance to show that we are one of the elite teams in this league by putting forth a professional effort that did not take anything for granted, but we showed we are merely a good team by letting the Legends walk out with a well deserved win for their great effort.
- How lackluster were the Ants? Two players who barely played the night before -- Matt Rogers and Reece Hampton -- combined for 47 points, 23 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Honestly, it really upsets me just writing that.
- I was really pleased with parts of the play of our big men. Marvin Phillips scored 19 points and 15 rebounds, Darnell Lazare continued his fine play with 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Kent contributed 7 points off the bench, but they can't allow quality players like Rogers and Hampton (who, may I repeat, barely played the night before) go off for career nights like that.
- Our guards shot poorly, but that happens. What can't happen is how poorly they all played on defense. Booker Woodfox, who has improved greatly from our training camp last year and is doing shooting wise what I envisioned he would do for us when we drafted him, was left open time and time again by defenders who clearly forgot what the scouting report said -- he is a great shooter! If you don't find a shooter early, you will get beat when he hits three after three on you, and that is what happened here. Further, the constant penetration to the middle collapsed the defense and left guys like Booker wide open for threes. For us to move into being an elite team (which I think we can be), we have to shore up these fundamental defensive lapses.
Finally, in other news, with the Chris Hunter injury, he is suffering some leg issues, and we will see how he practices today. If he can go and feels better, we will send him to Tulsa. If not, we will go without him.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
With Chris Kramer on the disabled list, we have picked up Anthony Goods to fill in. Anthony was our last cut this year, and I am happy to have him in a Mad Ants uniform. In any other year, Anthony would be on this team, but we are deep this year, and we thought we had other needs, an that is why he was ultimately let go. He should really help with the defense we will be missing with Chris, and he should further improve our shooting, because he can really knock it down from the perimeter.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Looks like good and bad news with Chris Kramer. He is hurt and will miss some games, but it is not the multi month injury that I feared when I saw him limping off the court. It is a sprain of his MCL area, and he will be out about two to three weeks. Sorry to lose him to injury, but happy it is not worse than expected.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
One of the things that all D-League teams hope will come out of the collective bargaining agreement negotiations is the ability for NBA teams to send players to their D-League affiliates. Imagine having the bump in attendance that sending down a Roger Clemens or Manny Ramirez occur in the D-League if we got Shaq or some other top name to come down to get into shape.
In Sioux Falls, we are currently getting a bit of a test case in that with Johnny Flynn of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Johnny was the fifth or sixth pick in the NBA draft last year and had a solid year by scoring 13 points per game over 81 games. He has been shelved for the last 4 months due to hip surgery, and, to get him in better game condition, the T-Wolves have sent him to Sioux Falls for a few games to get some game time experience.
This is a great thing for Sioux Falls, but it is potentially a great thing for all D-League teams if other NBA teams see the value in this and use us this way. Here is the link to the article.
Tom Renz asked a question about Chris Kramer and his condition in one of the comments on a blog post, and I thought I would just post something to try to get people as up to date as possible.
Chris was injured just 17 seconds into the game last Saturday in Springfield with what looks to be a knee injury. He will go in for an MRI with Dr. Jerry Cooper from FWO/Ortho Hospital today at noon, and we will know then what the extent of the injury is. As for what it could be, I am just not sure, and I don't want to speculate. I do know he was hobbling on it after the game, but there was not significant swelling, so I am hoping those are good signs.
If Chris cannot play this weekend, we will certainly have to have Obi Muonelo and Corey Allmond step up in his place. Both have shown flashes of great play, but neither have demonstrated the type of consistency in knowing the offense and defensive play that Chris has demonstrated. So, as the old saying goes in football, it will be next man up if Chris is out, and they will have to play much better to make up for the loss of Chris. The good news: they essentially did do that in the last game, because Chris did only play 17 seconds, and Corey and Obi filled in and we got the win.
As for the final diagnosis, I will have that later today and will update the blog with the info.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Here are where some of our guys rank in the league stats:
Rod Wilmont is fifth in the league in scoring with 21.3 ppg
Walker Russell, Jr. is thirtieth in the league with 16 ppg
Marvin Phillips is third in the league in rebounding with 9.8 rpg
Darnell Lazare is thirty first in the league with 6.3 rpg
Walker Russell, Jr. is second in the league in assists with 8.8 apg
Carlos English is forty third in the league in assists with 2.8 apg
Marvin Phillips is tied for second with three double doubles
Walker Russell, Jr. is tied for second with three double doubles
Marvin Phillips is seventh in the league with 1.8 bpg
Free Throw Pct:
Chris Kramer is third in the league with 95% from the line
Marvin Phillips is fourth in the league with 94.7% from the line
Marvin Phillips is tied for second in the league with 2.5 spg
We are losing more and more Mad Ants overseas right now, as it no one knows where in the world Oliver Lafayette is, and Taj McCullough got cut from his team in Australia. Of those left overseas, here is how they did in the past few days:
- Sean Sonderleiter got the start, played 21 minutes, and scored 4 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Not a great game for Sondy.
- Coleman Collins scored 6 points and grabbed 7 boards in the same game, as Ulm dropped one to a tough Telekom Baskets team.
- Jared Reiner had a tough night against Bremerhaven as his team got bounced by 30, and he scored 8 points and grabbed 8 boards.
- In a 2 overtime thriller, Ryan Ayers Finnish team won a tough game. Ryan scored 13 points and grabbed 7 boards in the win.
- Kyle McAlarney scored 9 points in a 2 point win for his Ikaros team in Greece.
- Rob Kurz continues to feel the difficulty of losing Granada's second best player, Joe Ingles. Rob scored 13 points and grabbed 7 boards before fouling out. His team is really struggling without Ingles and no one seems to be able to provide Rob much help out there.
- Jamelle Cornley had one of his worst games in the Uruguayan league as his team dropped yet another game, this time to Olimpia. Jamelle scored 11 points and grabbed 6 boards in the loss.
Congrats to Walker Russell, Jr. for being named the D-League Player of the Week! It was clearly a well deserved honor after the back to back wins he helped deliver this past weekend in Maine and Springfield. Walker averaged 24.5 rebounds, 12.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds this past week. Chris Hunter was also named a top performer for the week by averaging 20 points and 8 boards for the week. Ominous by his absence from the top performer list: Rod Wilmont. Let me throw him in the mix with his 24 points per game for the week. Rod also raised his average to 21.8 ppg on the season. Great job by these three and all the other Ants!
Our Mad Ants had a great weekend this past weekend in Maine and Springfield. Here are my quick hit thoughts on each game:
Mad Ants v. Maine:
- Our guys got off to an incredible start, pushed the lead up into the twenties, and essentially coasted from there. Maine made a late run, but that usually happens in these types of games (trust me, I have plenty of experience with losing big early), and the guys closed it out for a great road win.
- Walker Russell, Jr. had his best game of the season 18 and 12, Rod Wilmont chipped in 20, Chris Hunter scored 18 in 19 minutes, and Chris Kramer knocked down 15 in the teams most complete performance of the season.
- The key to the game as I saw it was the team's crisp execution on offense. I thought they got anything they wanted on the offensive end, and the defense was quite stout.
Mad Ants v. Springfield
- The Mad Ants hung tough all game long and eventually wore the Armor out to get the weekend sweep.
- It didn't look good when the Ants were down 10 with 5 to go, but Walker got the come back started with two free throws, and the team went on a 8-2 to get the game down to 2 with 2 minutes left to go.
- Terrence Williams then hit a three to push it to 5, but Wilmont came down and hit yet another clutch three pointer to keep the margin at 2. From there, the teams went back and forth until, with the Armor down two, JamesOn Curry hit a clutch 20 footer with .8 seconds to go, and the game eventually went to OT.
- In OT, the game was all Mad Ants. The team ran off 6 straight points and hit every clutch free throw necessary down the stretch and got every stop they needed to close out a tough and gritty win.
- Walker Russell trumped his great game in Maine with an even better game in Springfield. He scored 31 points and had 13 assists and really controlled the game. Just a marvelous performance.
- Rod Wilmont had an equally gutty performance. He guarded the Terrence Williams on one end -- no small task -- and still was able to attack on the other end and ended with 28 points. He had some fantastic shots, but none bigger than the two threes he hit in the last few minutes of the game to keep us close
- I thought our three bigs were terrific as well. Chris Hunter scored 22 points and 9 rebounds, Marvin Phillips continued his great play with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Darnell Lazare scored 20 points, 6 rebounds, and added 5 assists.
- The best stat of them all -- 7 turnovers all game in an OT game. That is stunning, and the type of urgency and concern with the ball that we did not show against Erie last weekend. It looks like the guys really started to click this weekend, and it showed especially in that stat.
- The bad news -- Chris Kramer went down to injury in the first 17 seconds of the game. I have no idea of what the extent of the injury it is, but it appears to be an MCL injury. We will know tomorrow how he is and how long he will be out.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In other team news, the Mad Ants have activated Chris Hunter from the injured list (or whatever the D-League calls it) and have waived Adam Zahn to make room for him. Chris had spent the better part of the summer injured, and he was really struggling in training camp with some lingering aches and pains. He has diligently worked to get himself in a position to play, and he told me yesterday that he is ready to go. I would not expect a ton from Chris right out of the box, as he still is not in the great game shape to this point, but it always helps a team when you get a NBA caliber center back in your lineup.
The tough news is that we had to let a player with a lot of upside go in Adam Zahn. Adam gave us some good minutes, but he is still raw as a player, and I hope he continues to work and get better, because he has a lot of tools that could help him be successful.
Chris will be playing his first game tomorrow in Maine against the mighty Red Claws, who will have two new pick ups themselves. The first pick up isn't brand new, but he has only played two games for them, and I classify that as new. Deshawn Sims from the University of Michigan is off to a hot start for the Red Claws and is averaging 20 and 10 in his two games. The other new player will be Northeastern product Matt Janning. He is a heck of a shooter and scorer, and he made the Suns out of training camp. He will provide Maine a nice lift.
I know some people were excited at the prospect of Oliver potentially coming back to the Mad Ants (my brother, my dad, and, yes, me), but it looks like my earlier prognostication turned out to be correct. A very smart team in Europe picked up his contract and signed him for a two month deal. Oliver will be heading over to Aris Thessaloniki (a gorgeous city -- I highly recommend a visit) to demonstrate his talents. Good luck to Oliver -- we will miss him!
Last night, I was cooking a delicious ham and potato chowder for me to eat for lunch the next few days when I decided to check out the twitter I account I never use. I was very surprised to see that there were reports out of the Pacers camp that they were planning on sending Lance Stephenson to the Mad Ants. This was news to me, because I have heard nothing from the Pacers regarding sending any players down, and their history would indicate that they have no intention of sending any players down.
For those of you who don't know Stephenson, he is an immensely talented player that the Pacers drafted in the second round from the University of Cincinnati. He really played well for Indy this summer in the Orlando Summer League, and I thought he was one of the best players there. In fact, he is generally regarded by all the draft experts as a first round talent. Why did he fall in the draft? Well, the reason this first round talent fell to the second round is that Stephenson is also a very controversial player who has severe off the court issues, including a recent guilty plea and another arrest this summer.
With the prospect of Stephenson joining us, I was planning on calling the Pacers today to see if this story is true. But, it looks like the idea of a move for Stephenson is in no way imminent. As you can see from the article, the Pacers have a philosophy that it is better to be around and practice with the big club rather than get in games. I, obviously, am on the complete opposite side. I believe players don't get better by limited reps in practice and two on two games before the team plays. I understand a player needing to learn a system, but I feel that need pales in comparison to the need of a player to get on the court -- in a professional atmosphere with very good competition -- to really improve. For example, Solomon Alabi has been able to put all the things he has been working on with the Raptors to work in a game situation, and he will be that much more comfortable when he goes back to the Raptors. This could also be the case with the Pacers young players, but I certainly can understand their point of view.
So, Mad Ants fans, it looks like it will still be a while before we see a Pacers player wearing a Mad Ants uniform.