Coach Gansey and Mad Ants ready for D-League draft

Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey with recent signee Ben Bentil at Pacers practice on Monday.

Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey with recent signee Ben Bentil at Pacers practice on Monday.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants officials and the coaching staff have spent at least the last week completing scouting reports and pouring over video to prepare for the NBA Development League Draft, set for Sunday at 2:00 p.m. ET.

They already held the fourth pick in the draft. Less than two weeks before the draft, they sent the rights to Jordan Crawford, a former IU player, to Grand Rapids in exchange for the sixth pick. The Mad Ants are ecstatic to now have two top-six selections.

“Really excited,” coach Steve Gansey said of the draft last week, while in town for Pacers practice. “I’ve never been in that position before. We’ll just try to get the best players available on our team and get ready for November 1st.”

182 players are on the official list, eligible to be taken in the six-round draft. The first four rounds are mandatory, and then teams can elect to pass on their fifth- and sixth-round selections.

To sort through all of the available players, the Mad Ants chose to split up responsibilities. Each assistant coach must be prepared for his assigned position. Tyler Marsh scouted the point guards, Jhared Simpson eyed in on the bigs, and Al Grushkin prepped for the wings.

“We’re doing background checks, we’re doing everything so that we’re ready for when we’re talking to all of these coaches and guys,” Gansey added.

Mad Ants General Manager Brian Levy:

The four players who signed training camp contracts with the Pacers — Ben Bentil, Alex Poythress, Julyan Stone, and Nick Zeisloft — are all expected to play for the Mad Ants this season.

Pacers Director of Scouting Ryan Carr and Pro Scout Vance Catlin will also be in the room — as a resource in player evaluations ahead of their seven picks.

“It’s great to have those guys in the room with us,” Gansey said.

[See Also: Coach Steve Gansey appreciates the togetherness between the Pacers and Mad Ants]

The Mad Ants missed out on the postseason last year for the first time since the 2011-12 season. That season could be referred to as a foundational season. It was the first year that they had been owned solely by the Indiana Pacers.

They finished 20-30, at the bottom of the five-team Central Division and ninth (out of 10) in the Eastern Conference. They went 13-12 at home, 7-18 on the road.

The Mad Ants open their season on Sat., Nov. 12 at Greenboro.

Mad Ants Draft Picks:
1st Round – No. 4
1st Round – No. 6 (from 2016 Grand Rapids trade)
2nd Round – No. 29 (from 2015 Delaware trade)
3rd Round – No. 48
4th Round – No. 70
5th Round – No. 92
6th Round – No. 114

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