For years, team president Jeff Potter could envision Conner Henry coaching the Mad Ants.
That vision became reality Tuesday, when Henry was introduced at Memorial Coliseum as the new coach of the D-League franchise.
"As I watch games, I always watch the benches and try to get a sense of who would be a good head coach," Potter said. "One of the people I always thought would be is going to be our next head coach, Conner Henry. When I made our calls to different people, Conner's name kept coming up consistently as someone they saw as the next great head coach in our league."
Henry replaces Duane Ticknor, who led the Mad Ants to their first playoff berth last season, but then left to become an assistant coach with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Henry, 50, fulfills the most important criteria Potter had for the job – he's been a head coach before, with Perth in the Australian National Basketball League.
For the last two seasons, Henry has been an assistant coach with the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders, who won a league-record 38 games in his first season and set a record with eight call-ups to the NBA.
"That tell you the kind of talent he's able to find and the talent he's able to develop," Potter said.
Henry played in the NBA from 1986 to 1988 for Houston, Boston, Milwaukee and Sacramento. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Rockets out of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
A 6-foot-7, 195-pound guard, he averaged 3.3 points and 1.1 assists in his NBA career.
He was MVP of the old Continental Basketball Association – in which the Fort Wayne Fury played – in 1990 and 1992 for Rapid City and Yakima, respectively.
"I'm excited to be here," Henry said. "I think we will play an exciting brand of basketball. We've got some good players returning and we've got to build our roster and be very, very successful.
"You've got a good base here and was very successful last year. I know the support in the community is strong. But at the end of the day we have to win – and that's everybody's goal."