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Mad Ants NBADL

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    The D-League is moving toward a system in which there’s one team for every NBA team. But not all the NBA teams are yet interested in running a D-League team or even regularly sending players down.
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    Meeting a Mad Ants icon
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Mad Ants
at Maine
When: 7 p.m. today
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Webcast: www.fortwaynehoops.com

Ants forward making most of opportunity

– Just before the ball went up for the Mad Ants’ game against Bakersfield last Sunday, Ants coach Duane Ticknor called starting forward Anthony Richardson to his side and asked the 6-foot-7 forward’s opinion on the first play the team would run.

“And (Richardson) goes, ‘Coach, that’s the exact same thing I was thinking,’ ” Ticknor said.

Added Richardson: “He said, ‘Maybe it’s not a good thing for you to be thinking like me.’ ”

Although there are still plenty of years left in the 29-year-old legs of the man his teammates call “A-Rich,” the former Florida State player who averages 13.9 points per game hopes to become a coach once his playing days are behind him.

“I love coaching,” he says. “I love helping people. That’s something I’ve been looking into.”

For now, though, his immediate task is to help the Mad Ants (19-20) finish strong with 11 games remaining on their D-League schedule. Now that the team’s leading scorer, Luke Harangody (19.9 ppg) has left the team with a sore knee and probably won’t return, the Ants will need Richardson’s offensive potential even more.

“It probably becomes a little bit more crucial for him to score with a little more consistency,” Ticknor said. “With Luke gone, (Richardson) needs to be a more consistent scorer. We can’t have a 28-point game, then a seven-point game. We need him in that 15-point range night after night after night. Hopefully every once in a while he’ll pop a 25-point game in there with it.”

Richardson has been in double figures seven of the last eight games, including the last three when he’s had 22, 16 and 15 points. And he popped for a 28-point game in the D-League Showcase in Reno, Nev., in early January, when he hit 11 of 13 shots.

The performance couldn’t have come at a better time or place.

“I had a really good Showcase, and I made some pretty good connections there,” Richardson said.

“Ultimately, that’s the whole thing in the D-League; you want to go to another level. I think I’ve made some pathways there.”

Richardson doesn’t have the illusion that the NBA will call him tomorrow. He’s been around too long to fool himself, even though he wouldn’t turn down The League if it called.

There are plenty of well-paying jobs overseas.

“I say that people are looking for the call-up instead of the call-over,” Richardson said. “I know my first year in the D-League, I played and averaged about 15, and the next year I went overseas and made more money than I had before. I’m in the same opportunity to do that exact same thing.

“If you only look at one opportunity – let’s use the Showcase for example – there are a lot of scouts from the NBA there, but there are a lot of scouts from overseas, also. When I got into that, I’m not even looking at the NBA scouts. You can make a great living overseas. It’s everyone’s goal to be in the NBA, but everyone’s not going to make it. There aren’t that many spots.”

stwarden@jg.net

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