Mad Ants veteran doing his best work
It’s safe to say that Stephan Hicks is having the best season of his G League career so far, not just in terms of productivity, but also in terms of leadership and versatility.
“He’s got to play multiple positions, especially when the big fellow (Alize Johnson) isn’t here, and he’s been a pro,” said Mad Ants coach Steve Gansey, who really could go on and on about Hicks if given the chance.
Gansey has had the unenviable task of dealing with myriad roster changes this season as the NBA’s Indiana Pacers have shuttled players back and forth.
Heading into today’s 7 p.m. game at Memorial Coliseum against the Delaware Blue Coats (6-12), Davon Reed should remain with the Pacers while Johnson, Edmond Sumner and Ike Anigbogu should be with Fort Wayne (9-8).
All the roster upheaval has meant Hicks, 26, has had to play shooting guard, small forward or power forward, depending on who else is around, all while being the most tenured Mad Ants player charged with leading a team that is stocked with mostly first- and second-year players.
“He’s a senior for us : it’s his fourth year (in the G League) : and he does whatever it takes to win,” Gansey said. “He never complains. He’s never selfish. He does whatever the team needs him to do. He does whatever we tell him to do.”
Hicks, 6-foot-6, is averaging career bests in points (16.4) and rebounds (6.2) : his career averages are 12.3 and 5 : for a Fort Wayne team that has won three of its last four games.
Hicks is the only player to start every game this season for Fort Wayne. He scored a career-best 29 points in a 117-111 loss to Long Island on Dec. 7 and had a chance to break it Dec. 17 but gave up the ball late instead of going for that personal mark, finishing with 26 in a 126-110 victory over Rio Grande Valley.
“I can’t really get too high or get too low,” Hicks said of his recent success. “It’s just part of the game. I just want to continue to help my team, however and whenever I can. I just want to help them win.”
He’d like his Mad Ants to improve their spotty play at the Coliseum, where they are 5-4 this season.
“We want to try and win all our home games because going on the road is kind of tough,” Hicks said. ”(The road) is a new environment for some of the guys, especially the rookies, and we want to show the guys that we can play with high energy and get the wins here (at the Coliseum) each and every night.”
On Sunday, the Mad Ants will play at 5 p.m. at the MTI Center at Trine University in Angola against the Greensboro Swarm.
Notes: Organ donors who buy a ticket get one free tonight by showing their donor identification at the Coliseum box office. ... It will also be Nickelodeon Night. There will be a fanny pack giveaway and the team will wear “SpongeBob SquarePants” jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit the Mad Anthonys Children’s Hope House.