Mad Ants Acquire Player Rights in NBA D-League Expansion Draft
Fort Wayne, IN – The Fort Wayne Mad Ants selected Jeremy Richardson, a 6-6, 190-pound guard who is currently on the roster of the NBA’s Miami Heat, with their first pick in yesterday’s 2007 NBA D-League Expansion Draft. Last season with the Fort Worth Flyers, Richardson averaged 17.6 points a game and had two Gatorade Call-Ups – one in late January to the Atlanta Hawks and another in March to the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the draft, the Mad Ants joined the D-League’s three other new expansion teams, the Iowa Energy, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, and Utah Flash, in acquiring the rights to new players. Each team picked from a pool of 62 that included players from the now-defunct Arkansas Rimrockers and Fort Worth Flyers as well as unprotected players from current D-League teams.
In the draft, teams had one pick in each of ten rounds. After the process was completed, teams submitted a preference list of their selected players to the NBA D-League office. Players from the list will have the opportunity to sign with the D-League and play with their new respective teams starting this November.
“The Expansion Draft gives us the opportunity to sign four players so we can catch up to the existing teams in the League,” noted Fort Wayne Head Coach Kent Davison. In the Expansion Draft, new teams are able to level the proverbial playing field by acquiring the rights to four players before heading into the regular draft in November, placing them in the same player situation as the other ten teams currently in the D-League.
Davison was both surprised and pleased with the way the draft played out for the Mad Ants. “We got the top guys we wanted, but every draft I’ve ever done has surprised me. Other coaches look at the same pool of players [and pick totally different lineups]. It’s just how you want to go about choosing your team.”
Going into training camp and beginning preparation for the regular draft, the Mad Ants will hit the ground running for their inaugural season with yesterday’s acquisitions. Joining first-pick Richardson on the Mad Ants’ list are Olu Famutimi, Anthony Roberson, and Tyrone Sally, all former Rimrockers, Chad Bell and Antonio Meeking from Sioux Falls, and Badou Gaye and Russell Walker, Jr. from the Flyers. Rounding out the list are Mike Benton, who played at the College of Charleston, and Armein Kirkland from Cincinnati.
With the acquisition of these players, the Mad Ants have taken the first step in building a team ready to bring professional basketball back to Fort Wayne. Season tickets are available at a discounted rate through September 21 at the team’s office in the Papermill Office Park at 1910 St. Joe Center Road, Suite 61 or by calling 260-469-HOOP (4667). Opening tip-off for the Mad Ants will be Friday, November 23 at 7:30pm at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.