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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Forward Stephan Hicks, right, pulls back for a shot against Erie's John Petrucelli at Memorial Coliseum. Hicks, who played for the Mad Ants last season, is part of the Fort Wayne Champs team that has qualified for The Basketball Tournament.

Thursday, June 01, 2017 11:40 pm

Former Mad Ants players to play for $2 million

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Champs, made up of former player Mad Ants players, has gotten into the 64-team field for The Basketball Tournament, which will have a $2-million winner-take-all prize.

Pending a review by TBT organizers, the Fort Wayne Champs expect to play their first game in Peoria, Illinois on July 15. The team, which reached the TBT semifinals in 2015, qualified because of a successful fan vote – it was sixth out of nine teams in the Midwest region.

“We are thrilled to make it into the tournament for a third consecutive year,” general manager Garrett Martz said. “It was a dogfight with us competing for fan votes against several college alumni teams that have the full support of their university and alumni base. We relied on our amazing support from friends, families and fans to get the automatic bid. We are looking to make them and the entire city of Fort Wayne proud come July.”

The full bracket for the tournament will be announced later this month.

Formerly known as Ants Alumni, the team changed its name this year at the behest of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, who own and operate the D-League’s Mad Ants.

The Fort Wayne Champs include Ron Howard, Will Frisby, Anthony Harris, Sadiel Rojas, Trey McKinney Jones, Jordan Loyd, Stephan Hicks, Travis