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The Journal Gazette

  • Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette Forward Stephan Hicks, right, pulles back for a shot against Erie's John Petrucelli at Memorial Coliseum. Hicks is part of the Ants Alumni team that hopes to compete in The Basketball Tournament.

Monday, May 08, 2017 8:20 pm

Ants Alumni unveils roster, needs your help

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Ants Alumni team has a pretty impressive roster as it tries to make it into The Basketball Tournament, a 64-team event that has a $2-million winner-take-all prize.

And you, the fans, have a chance to get a share of that purse.

Not affiliated with the Mad Ants of the D-League, but obviously using its former and current players, Ants Alumni needs fans to vote at to get into the field. If Ants Alumni wins, the top fans will get a share of the winnings.

The Ants Alumni roster includes: Ron Howard, Will Frisby, Anthony Harris, Sadiel Rojas, Trey McKinney Jones, Jordan Loyd, Stephan Hicks, Travis Leslie and Adam Woodbury. The team will be coached by Rod Wilmont, a former Indiana University and Mad Ants player.

Here’s the full press release on the Ants Alumni, who they are, how it works, and how you can help:

FORT WAYNE, IN. -The Ants Alumni, a group of former players of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, today announced the team's entry into the 2017 The Basketball Tournament that will tip off in July.

The Basketball Tournament ("TBT") is a single elimination tournament with a winner-take-all prize of $2 million.

The support of fans is needed for the Ants Alumni to gain entry to the tournament, since the field is determined by online popularity at

Ants Alumni competed in TBT in both 2015 and 2016, reaching the ESPN-aired semifinals in 2015.

Formatted like March Madness, 64 teams will play a single-elimination tournament, divided into four regions (Charlotte, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Peoria, IL). Ants Alumni has applied to play in the Peoria regional.

TBT is the only event in the world in which the fans win money when their team wins the championship. The top fans of the champion will split $200,000, 10% of the total $2-million grand prize. Fans are encouraged to recruit family and friends to join in the voting process. The more voters a fan recruits, the more points he or she earns and the more money they can win.

The top nine vote getters in each region will receive "automatic" bids. TBT will select six other teams per region and one team will qualify by winning the TBT Jamboree.

Ants Alumni are currently ranked 7th in fan votes in the Midwest region. The roster includes five players from the 2014 D-League championship team along and four players from this season.

Ron Howard, who recently had his jersey retired by the Mad Ants this season, will rejoin the Alumni Team along with fellow 2014 D-League champions Will Frisby, Anthony Harris, Sadiel Rojas and Trey McKinney Jones. Howard was the NBA D-League Co-MVP in 2014 and is the all-time leading scorer for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Howard lives in Fort Wayne.

"I am excited to see and play with my Mad Ant brothers again" Howard said. "We shared a special bond during our championship run in 2014 and I always enjoy being around those guys. And of course who wouldn't want a chance to play for $2 million dollars. I hope the great community of Fort Wayne can get behind us and help vote us into the tournament."

McKinney Jones, making his third consecutive appearance on the Ants Alumni roster, averaged 16.6 points, 5 rebounds, and 3.1 assists for the Mad Ants this season. Jordan Loyd, Stephan Hicks, Travis Leslie, and Adam Woodbury are first-time Ants Alumni players.

Coaching the team will be Rod Wilmont, a former player with the Mad Ants and Indiana University. He is the coach of the Lakewood Park Christian boys team and the CBA's Fort Wayne Flite, a semi-pro team.

"The Basketball Tournament is loaded with talent from professional overseas players and past college stars" Wilmont said. "It's a really high level of basketball and I am excited to prepare Ants Alumni for hopefully a deep run and shot to win it all".

If Ants Alumni qualifies for the tournament, they will host a two-day mini-camp July 12 and 13 and, likely, travel to Peoria to compete in the opening round July 15th at Bradley University.