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Wednesday, February 22, 2017 10:13 pm

Mad Ants to retire Howard's 19

Justin A. Cohn | The Journal Gazette

Ron Howard will be the first Mad Ants player to have his number retired. The man affectionately known as "Mr. Mad Ant," who led the team to the 2014 D-League championship, will have his No. 19 go to the Memorial Coliseum rafters at halftime of the March 3 game against Westchester. 

“I feel unbelievably blessed and grateful,” Howard said. “I never imagined that I would be celebrated this way.”
Howard, who had played at Valparaiso, spent seven seasons with the Mad Ants and is their all-time leading scorer. He was Co-MVP of the D-League in the championship season.
 
Howard, who scored 4,324 points, was a three-time all-star and a two-time Jason Collier Sportsmanship award recipient.
 
His basketball career took off during high school at Whitney Young in Chicago. As a senior, he averaged 17 points and five rebounds per game while earning All-Conference, All-City, All-Area and Special Mention All-State honors. Howard went on to attend Marquette University. As a freshman at Marquette, Howard played alongside Dwyane Wade.
 
In 2002, he transferred to Valparaiso and went on to earn second team All-Conference honors twice.
 
Howard went undrafted in the 2006 NBA draft. In early 2007, he joined Trigueros de Ciudad Obregón of Mexico for the 2007 CIBACOPA season. As well as being an All-Star, he helped Trigueros win the 2007 championship.
 
After his career with the Mad Ants, Howard returned overseas. He signed with Piratas de Quebradillas of Puerto Rico for the 2015 BSN season. That July, Howard was selected by the Seoul Samsung Thunders with the final pick in the 2015 Korean Basketball League draft. In December 2015, he parted ways with Seoul after appearing in 27 games.
 
This past November, Howard signed with French team Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez as an injury replacement for Yannick Bokolo. He appeared in five games for the team before Bokolo returned to the lineup.
 
His family has resided in Fort Wayne since he began playing for the Mad Ants in 2007.
 
Parents of three, Howard and his wife, Reesha, founded the Game Day Sports Camp in 2012. Howard also participates in the Mad Ants Academy, teaching youth the fundamentals of the game of basketball.
 
“My wife and I are devoted to giving back because we truly love the people and the city of Fort Wayne.” Howard said.