Sioux Falls at Mad Ants
Tipoff: 7:30 tonight at Memorial Coliseum
On the web: NBA.com/dleague
IOPO Awareness Night: The Mad Ants will be wearing special jerseys in support of the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, and will have a silent jersey auction to raise money.
For more on the Mad Ants, follow Reggie Hayes via Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1
Mad Ants newcomer Matt Bouldin figures “combo guard” is as good a description as any for his new job.
Bouldin possesses a nice three-point shooting touch for the two-guard spot and quality court vision to play the point. Chances are, he'll end up doing a little bit of both as the Ants hit the final stretch of the season.
“I just try to find people and make people better and, hopefully, shoot the ball really well,” Bouldin said. “Have a solid basketball IQ and try to make good decisions out there.”
Bouldin was acquired by the Ants last week in a trade that sent a second-round draft pick to Delaware. He will make his home debut when the Ants (20-13) play the Sioux Falls Skyforce (20-13) at 7:30 tonight at Memorial Coliseum.
Ants coach Conner Henry expects the 6-foot-5 Bouldin to add additional depth to his core unit and take some point-guard load off of Ron Howard.
“We really like this trade and the reason being is that Matt's been a starter and is probably a starter in this league,” Henry said. “So what it does is gives us the ability to control tempo, and it also rests Ron where Ron doesn't have to play 42 minutes at the point as we go down the stretch here.”
Howard leads the Ants in scoring (21.4 ppg) and assists (3.8 apg). Bouldin averages 12.6 points and 3.5 assists this season.
“If we can limit Ron to 32 or 33 minutes at the point, and off (guard) with Matt, we're going to be better off,” Henry said. “The thing about Matt is you can't sleep on Matt. Matt can shoot threes, he's a very nice passer, a solid defender and smart, so people have to play him.”
Bouldin joined the Ants in time to appear in the Ants' 117-108 win at Springfield on Monday. Bouldin played nearly 23 minutes and scored eight points with six rebounds and three assists.
The Ants have become accustomed to playing with different players this season, with five NBA players coming down to Fort Wayne (Detroit's Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell, Indiana's Solomon Hill and Orlando Johnson and Memphis' Jamaal Franklin).
Bouldin said he didn't know any of Fort Wayne's players before joining the team, although he had worked with assistant coach Steve Gansey in USA Basketball when Bouldin was a college player.
“It's nice to be part of a team that's established itself as a winner,” Bouldin said. “The guys are really welcoming and the coaching staff is welcoming. It's a good situation and overall it's been very positive.”
Bouldin was able to learn more about the Ants' offense and his new teammates with three practices this week.
“Every day I get more comfortable,” Bouldin said. “(Getting traded) is part of the business. I'm happy to be part of a winning program. It's nice to be wanted, too.”