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The Journal Gazette

  • Katie Fyfe | The Journal Gazette Mad Ants' DJ McCall passes the ball during the Mad Ants' practice at the ASH Centre on Monday.

Thursday, October 31, 2019 2:20 pm

Mad Ants' depth impressive

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants’ roster looks good. So good, in fact, it’s going to be awfully hard for the two local products, D.J. McCall (Concordia High School/IUPUI) and Kason Harrell (PFW) to make it.

But they’re impressing the coaches so far.

“D.J. was Defensive Player of the Year (in the Horizon League) and you can tell that he picks up things quick,” coach Steve Gansey said. “He’s gotten better every single day. He’s learned our schemes. He knows spacing now offensively and has done a good job of understanding what we’re trying to get out of those offensive sets. And his personality has been great; he’s always eager to work.

“Kason Harrell, I watched him last year at Purdue Fort Wayne games, and he just knows how to play. He makes the right reads and has really conditioned himself over this past offseason. He’s played well in camp. His ability to stretch the floor and understand what we’re trying to do defensively has been pretty good in camp so far.”

There are 16 players in camp and that must be whittled to 12 by the regular season.

But consider that the Mad Ants have five NBA prospects (Naz Mitrou-Long, Brian Bowen II, JaKeenan Gant, C.J. Wilcox and Walt Lemon Jr.); four players with significant NBA experience (Hasheem Thabeet, Wilcox, Mitrou-Long and Lemon); a five-year Mad Ant (Stephan Hicks); and four other players the Mad Ants through strongly enough about to bring back from last season (Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, Travin Thibodeaux, Ike Nwamu and Jovan Mooring).

That’s a very savvy-looking team.

“I think our ability to shoot the ball (is strong),” Gansey said. “(I like) the fact that we have so many guys who can spread. With Hasheem being big (at 7-foot-2), playing four guards and playing him inside and being that roller and rim-protector on the defensive end, that will be huge for us.

“We do have a deep team with guys like Ike Nwamu and Demetrius Denzel-Dyson coming off the bench and C.J. Wilcox, who can really stretch it as an elite 3-point shooter. Those are the things I’m really looking forward to. We’re going to throw out a lot of different lineups, a big lineup and a small lineup and a shooting lineup, and just adapt throughout every game.”

(Video interviews from today's Media Day are above.)

jcohn@jg.net