The last shall be first, which is why the Mad Ants own the No. 1 pick for the Nov. 2 NBA Development League player draft.
Because the Ants finished with the league's worst record last season (14-36), they will get the first pick for the first time in the team's history when the 16-team, eight-round draft will be held at 7 p.m. out of New York.
"It's very important," Mad Ants president Jeff Potter said of choosing first. "In our experience and the places we've been, I think the best pick we've had up to this point is eighth. The impact players are in those first four to five picks, if even that – the first three picks. It allows us to go out and get one of those impact players, or it allows us to trade. It gives us a lot of options to where we can improve upon what we did last year. It's great. I'm excited about the prospect of improving our team."
Sioux Falls, Idaho, Maine and Reno Bighorns round out the top five selections.
Last season, the Ants chose 10th and drafted Cameron Jones from Northern Arizona. The 6-foot-4 guard had a team-high 48 games played and averaged 14 points. He was the only player from the 2011 draft who had any significant service with the Ants. Center Justin Neuhaus, a fifth-round pick, played seven games, and sixth-round pick Jabril Banks played six games.
Potter said he and first-year coach Duane Ticknor will not be looking to fill one specific position with the first pick.
"It's the best player," Potter said. "I don't care if it's a point guard or whatever – somebody to come in here and make an impact and really make a difference for us."
The Mad Ants, who will conduct open tryouts Saturday and Sunday at the Concordia Theological Seminary beginning at 10 a.m. each day, open their training camp Nov. 12, with the first game scheduled Nov. 23 against Erie at Memorial Coliseum.