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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Luke Harangody has posted double-doubles in both of his games since joining the Mad Ants.

Mad Ants heat up with ex-Irish star

– Luke Harangody sat on the solitary plank of bleachers that had been pulled out inside the chilly Concordia Seminary gymnasium. Before he began to lace his black shoes, he blew warm air into his cupped hands.

“It’s cold,” Harangody said as he took a seat.

He has no idea how cold it’s been.

The newest hope of the Mad Ants doesn’t know what a loss looks like in a Fort Wayne uniform.

Before he came to town a week ago, the Ants had lost 10 times in 13 games. But in his Dec. 28 debut, Harangody scored 19 points and 18 rebounds in a win over Texas.

Then the next night in Erie, Pa., he scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds, and the Ants won again.

Cause or coincidence?

“He brings a go-to guy that we haven’t had,” first-year coach Duane Ticknor says. “He brings energy and effort level every single night. He’s going to give you 20 and 10 every night – sometimes more than that. Even on a bad night, he’s a consistent rebounder and stretches the floor.

“The three things that I thought we were lacking were rebounding, shooting and toughness, and he brings all three. That’s all in one package right there.”

Less than three years after leaving Notre Dame as the only Big East men’s player to average double figures in points and rebounds for a career in conference play, the 6-foot-8 Harangody still owns a certain amount of cache in the name.

His college averages were off the charts for three years: 20.4 points and 10.6 rebounds as a sophomore; 23.3 and 11.8 as a junior; 21.8 and 9.1 as a senior.

His pro years haven’t been as productive.

Drafted by the Boston Celtics, Harangody played 28 games in 2010-11 before he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played 21 more games.

He played 21 games with the Cavs last season before being released.

Now, with a surgically cleaned out knee, the former All-American has resurfaced in Fort Wayne, just a few hours away from Notre Dame and his Andrean High School.

“There’s an opportunity for me to come in here and get playing time,” Harangody said.

And that’s what he wants, basically – time to prove there is still plenty of game left within him.

“I still think I have a great opportunity to play in the NBA, and this is the best way to do it,” he said.

stwarden@jg.net

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