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The Journal Gazette

Monday, January 16, 2017 10:41 am

Bentil back with Mad Ants

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Ben Bentil, who had a sterling season-opening game for the Mad Ants before leaving for China, is back with the team.

Bentil had a Mad Ants-best 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Mad Ants in a 120-99 victory at Greensboro, North Carolina, on Nov. 12. His departure days later to play in China was unexpected for the Mad Ants, but they recovered and have a 15-7 record heading into Thursday's 12:30 p.m. game against the Windy City Bulls (8-13) in Mississauga, Ontario.

That will be the first of two Fort Wayne games at the D-League Showcase -- an event in which all teams participate in front of NBA scouts -- and they take on the Atlantic Division-leading Maine Red Claws (16-9) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Mississauga.

Bentil, 21, is a 6-foot-9 forward. In 11 games with Xinjiang, he averaged 13.7 points and 4.8 rebounds.

Bentil averaged 21.1 points and 7.7 rebounds in 35 games last season as a sophomore at Providence.

A first-team all-Big East player, he was taken by the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA Draft at pick No. 51. That was one spot after the Indiana Pacers took Georges Niang of Iowa State, though they heavily considered Bentil.

After the rookie-heavy Celtics waived Bentil, he was signed Oct. 24 by the Pacers and promptly released so he could come to Fort Wayne as an affiliate player. Niang has played this season for Fort Wayne, as has the Pacers' Rakeem Christmas.

The Mad Ants, who are a half-game back of Raptors 905 for first place in the Central Division, have a bevy of rookies, including Bentil, Jordan Loyd, Nick Zeisloft and Adam Woodbury.