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Mad Ants’ veteran provides experience

STEVE WARDEN
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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette

At 34, Chris Porter brings a lot of experience in the NBA and other leagues to the Mad Ants. And he still isnít ready to give up on returning to the NBA.

Mad Ants
vs. Canton

When: 7 p.m. today

Webcast: www.fortwaynehoops.com

Chris Porter wasn’t summoned to the Mad Ants for his jump shot, even though he dropped a 16-footer in the waning moments of the first half against Springfield on Saturday.

The way Ants coach Duane Ticknor sees it, his team has plenty of scorers. So Porter, a 6-foot-7 forward who has repeatedly been around the global basketball block, was personally brought in by Ticknor for something other than putting the ball through the hole.

“He’s a pro,” Ticknor says.

Porter has been a basketball pro for a long time now, ever since he was claimed in the 2000 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors.

Life in the league lasted one season for the former Auburn standout, when he played 51 games and started 35 for the Warriors. He averaged 8.6 points and 3.7 rebounds. Since then, he has bounced around like the ball that is still so much a part of his life.

There were stops in the CBA, where he and Ticknor first met with the Dakota Wizards. Then the game took him to China, and Korea, and last season, the Philippines.

“We go way back,” Porter says of Ticknor. “He’s a great coach; a great mentor; a great guy, all around.”

They are charter members of their mutual admiration society. Ticknor, whose Ants (3-7) face Canton at Memorial Coliseum tonight, doesn’t hold back when it comes to praising Porter.

“Chris has a great work ethic, and he brings toughness to our team that we really need, both on the court and off the court,” Ticknor says. “He’s a great locker room guy, good leader. I think the longer he’s with this team, the more they’re going to respect his professionalism and his leadership abilities.”

He is 34, and clearly in the fourth quarter of his basketball career. And although he still hangs onto NBA dreams (“If God has it meant for me to be, I’ll be there.”), he knows his worth with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

“Just to be a role player, to be an older guy; to show the guys how to work hard,” Porter says. “Work ethic; that’s what I do. Just get after it, no matter the size; just go out and play and leave it all out on the floor.”

He probably won’t get the big minutes of the younger players, the established players. Walker Russell Jr. and Ron Howard and JaJuan Johnson will get more time. But it’s the time Porter gets that will be important.

“Doing the stuff that most other guys don’t want to do – jumping on the loose balls, hustling; the 50-50 plays,” Porter said. “Guys don’t want to go on the floor. Guys don’t want to go that extra mile to get that rebound that’s almost running out of bounds that you really can get. Stuff that way. You get respect that way; they see it.”

Note: Hours after calling him up from the Mad Ants, the Indiana Pacers reassigned Miles Plumlee to the D-League. He should be in the lineup today against Canton. Plumlee, who is from Warsaw, has averaged 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds with the Mad Ants.

stwarden@jg.net

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