FORT WAYNE – Maybe you have to be when you are a 5-foot-10 professional basketball player, but Kyle Randall has shown resiliency with the Mad Ants.
After the Mad Ants took the rookie from Central Michigan with their fourth-round pick in the Nov. 1 D-League draft, they cut him during training camp.
But Randall kept in contact with the Mad Ants, was brought back and has developed into a productive player.
After training camp, we just kept talking and talking, said Randall, 23. I came back to be a practice player, but I had the mindset I was going to work hard and try to get a roster spot.
That happened when Trey McKinney-Jones suffered a back injury in early December.
Randall has averaged only 15.9 minutes in 13 games, but the Mad Ants (11-8) are deep at guard; he has scored 4.2 points with 2.3 assists per game.
The hard work is paying off, Randall said. Im going to keep working. Ive got to keep getting better, just like anybody else in the locker room.
The Mad Ants, who have won five of their last six games, play tonight at Erie, Pa., against the BayHawks (5-13).
As a senior at Central Michigan, Randall averaged 18.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game and was a second-team all-MAC selection.
Throughout his college career, he started 96 of 124 games.
We played more open, not a lot of sets. I had the ball in my hands a lot more, said Randall, who is from Youngstown, Ohio. But its great being here. I get to play my natural position, which is point guard, after having to be a scorer in college. So Im back to my natural position, finding the open guys, making the extra pass and trying to make my teammates better. I love doing that.
Getting playing time will continue to be difficult; hes behind Ron Howard, McKinney-Jones and Memphis Grizzlies prospect Jamaal Franklin.
One thing he has going for him – believe it or not – is his size.
Depending on the defensive matchup, it might hurt me, but overall I believe it helps me out because I get in the lane a little bit more and guys have to get lower to guard me. Once that happens, its more to my advantage, Randall said.