FORT WAYNE – The Mad Ants have been going hard in practice since Nov. 7. They’re looking forward to doing it against another team, though, and they will get their chance in an exhibition game Saturday night at Saint Francis’ Hutzell Athletic Center.
The Mad Ants will play the Canton Charge at 7 p.m. Admission is free.
We’ve been playing hard in practice every day, going at each other’s heads. It’s been real competitive. It will be nice to take some of that aggression out on a different team, said guard Trey McKinney-Jones, a rookie out of Miami, who had been in training camp with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks before joining Fort Wayne.
The Mad Ants have cut Rod Wilmont and Salim Stoudamire, their fifth-round pick in this year’s D-League draft, bringing their roster to 15 players.
They need to determine an active roster of 10 by Thursday.
The nucleus of the team is expected to be McKinney-Jones, Ron Howard, Terrance Thomas, Alfred Aboya, Chris Porter, Anthony Harris and Olec Czyz.
That leaves Brandon Beasley, Will Frisby, Ramon Harris, Terrance Henry, Chris Hunter, Matt Humphrey, Kyle Randall and Titus Robinson vying for the remaining spots.
But there are no guarantees, and Saturday’s game will be important for all who play.
Pretty much everyone has to treat it like an audition, like an interview, and you have to go out and play your best on both the offensive and defensive ends, McKinney-Jones said.
The Mad Ants, who are coming off a 27-23 season and their first playoff berth, begin their seventh season Nov. 22 at Texas.
Canton’s roster includes Antoine Agudio, who averaged 14 points last season.
You get tired of beating up on each other in practice, Harris said. If you get an opportunity, especially in preseason, to go up against another team then you are excited for it.
This will be the first game for the Mad Ants’ new coach, Conner Henry, who along with the veterans have been making sure the practices have been conducted at a fast pace.
We have a lot of veterans, said Harris, who is slated to be the starting guard along with Howard this season.
For us, with those guys taking the lead, there are more good habits than bad and we’re going to be a prepared team.