Ron Howard, who came from obscurity to become the face of the Fort Wayne NBA Development League franchise for nearly three seasons, has probably played his last game in a Mad Ants uniform.
The 6-foot-5 guard from Valparaiso University who made the initial Ants team from open tryouts, said he will play in either Asia or Europe the remainder of this season.
“My agent has been talking with a couple teams, and we feel pretty good about the possibility,” said Howard, who did not play in Friday’s Ants home game against Los Angeles.
Howard, who was named to the D-League All-Star team this season, leaves as the Ants’ all-time leading scorer with 2,018 career points. He played in 124 games, started in 110 of them and averaged 16.3 points for his career.
“I really can’t say enough about it,” Howard said of what he owes the Ants. “Before I came here I literally went on three job interviews. I was truly about to give basketball up because as everyone knows, I have a family, and no one was calling and asking for me at that time.
“The opportunity that I’ve been given here, I can’t put into words. It changed my life and allowed me to have two really, really good shots of making my goal of playing in the NBA, all because of being here.”
Although the loss of Howard dropped the Ants roster to seven healthy players – eight if forward Rob Kurz is able to play in spite of a severe thigh bruise – team president Jeff Potter said he was pleased for Howard.
“I’m very happy for he and his family – (wife) Reesha and (daughter) Chloe. I feel very strongly about him as a player and as a person. He’s given a lot – every part of his basketball ability and done more for our franchise than anyone. He’s been a great face for us. I just wish him the best and this is a life-altering opportunity for this kid; kind of a culmination of a dream. I’m sad to see him go but happy for him. It was very hard to make that move this morning, I can tell you.”