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Only things for Mad Ants that don’t change are the changes

February 1, 2019

The Mad Ants’ newest acquisitions, Ike Nwamu and Jordan Barnett, contributed heavily in the 116-102 victory Saturday over the Canton Charge.

That was great news for coach Steve Gansey, but it has made the situation a bit more confusing for onlookers trying to make sense of the Fort Wayne roster in what’s been a season of seemingly endless change.

“They had a great game. They came right in, jelled right away, learned our offense,” Demetrius Denzel-Dyson said of Nwamu (11 points in 26 minutes) and Barnett (2 points in 15 minutes), who had been acquired from the Wisconsin Herd last week for Elijah Stewart and the rights to Alex Hamilton.

“These are good character guys to go with the good character guys we already have.”

They arrived just in time, too, since the Mad Ants lost their top scoring threat, Edmond Sumner, to the Indiana Pacers in the wake of Victor Oladipo’s season-ending injury.

But this week, much else has changed: Alize Johnson and Ike Anigbogu have returned from call-ups with the Pacers and Stephan Hicks is back, too, after his first-ever 10-day NBA contract expired.

In short, the Mad Ants went from short-handed to overloaded. And Davon Reed could still return, too.

“I’m going to have to manage (minutes) as much as possible,” Gansey said. “I’ll have to throw some different lineups out there this week and see what we look like out there with some different lineups. Everyone’s going to have to sacrifice some minutes.”

The Mad Ants (15-14), who lead the Central Division, play host to Raptors 905 (20-12) at 7 p.m. today at Memorial Coliseum.

Gansey knows, whatever happens with players like Johnson and Reed, he’s going to give a good look at Nwamu and Barnett.

“It makes us deeper, which I like. When certain players aren’t with us, those guys are going to have to step up and play more minutes,” he said.

But the guard position is a bit in flux with Sumner gone. While a lot of minutes went to the usually unused Je’lon Hornbeak last week, it’s unclear if that will keep up.

“Je’lon is solid. I trust Je’lon. He knows exactly what I expect from him,” Gansey said. “The addition of Ike (Nwamu), it’s probably going to hurt Je’lon’s minutes, but we’ve got to see what we’ve got with Ike and JB. We got them in a trade and I think they can really help us. It’s going to be game-by-game decisions on who’s starting, who’s with us and who’s playing well.”

jcohn@jg.net

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