The Journal Gazette
Monday, November 19, 2018 2:00 pm

Mad Ants must adjust without Moore, Reed

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants have a lot of young players they believe in who haven’t seen much playing time yet.

And that’s about to change.

Ben Moore’s scintillating start to the season has paid off; he signed a two-way contract with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, so he’s off to their G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Indiana Pacers have recalled Davon Reed, who will miss the Mad Ants’ 8 p.m. Wednesday game against the Memphis Hustle (3-3) in Southaven, Mississippi.

“It’s just opened up 55 to 60 minutes of playing time here,” Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey said. “These guys have been ready and have deserved some minutes, they just haven’t been in and they’ll just get the opportunity now.”

Only 23 total minutes have been played by Je’lon Hornbeak, Jared Sam and Travin Thibodeax, and rookie Demetrius Denzel-Dyson has averaged 7 points and 14.2 minutes per game.

Omari Johnson, who spent time in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, is sure to see an increased role after averaging 8.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 21.6 minutes in the first five games of the season.

Gansey said the Mad Ants (3-2) could look at starting Tra-Deon Hollins at point guard and Edmond Sumner at shooting guard, while giving increased playing time to rookie guard Rob Gray. Sumner, on a two-way contact with the Pacers, has a team-leading 23.8 points per game.

“It’s going to be a collective group because Ben did a lot of things both offensively and defensively for us,” Gansey said.

Moore, who spent most of last season with the Mad Ants, was waived by the Pacers earlier this month and then re-signed with Fort Wayne. In four games, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists, all coming off the bench, and his blue-collar brand of play meshed well with Pacers rookie Alize Johnson, who has averaged 22.5 points and 12.8 rebounds over four games.

“Ben was a huge part of our success last year and this year. He was coming off the bench for us this year, just to give some other guys opportunities, but he’s a starter in our league. He’s one of the top players in our league,” Gansey said. “He does a lot of things and he’s just a winning player, both offensively and defensively. It’s going to be tough to fill those spots, but I know these guys are hungry and looking forward to those opportunities.”

Reed, who signed a two-way contract with the Pacers after a rookie season in the Phoenix Suns’ organization, has played five games with Fort Wayne and averaged 12.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.

Additionally, Ike Anigbogu was returned to the Mad Ants by the Pacers and was at practice today.

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