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Pacers have decided who will coach the Mad Ants in the bubble
Eighteen teams will enter the Disney bubble with 15 guaranteed games — beginning in February.
The G League will be having a season, and it will all go down at Disney’s Wide World of Sports — where the NBA restart took place. Eighteen teams will enter the bubble in Orlando, Fla. next month, including the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
Teams are guaranteed 15 games and eight teams will advance to a single-elimination postseason. First up, though, is a three-round draft set for Monday, Jan. 11 at 1pm ET.
The Mad Ants are the Pacers’ affiliate team and they haven’t had a coaching staff in place since October. So who will be coaching the team?
It will be Pacers assistant player development coach Tom Hankins. Named Mad Ants coach on Monday, he becomes the seventh head coach in franchise history.
Hankins, 54, was hired before the 2019-20 season and signed a multi-year deal. He replaced Dave McClure, who left to take a front-of-bench assistant position with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Hankins was the head coach at the University of Central Oklahoma from 2015-19. Before that, he served as the associate head coach at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale for three seasons and was an assistant at Oral Roberts from 1997 to 2012.
He and Bill Bayno were the only staff members brought back after the team parted ways with head coach Nate McMillan in August.
“Tom brings a wealth of experience from many years in the college ranks,” said Mad Ants GM Brian Levy. “His proven track record of developing players was only further amplified by his recent role in working with Brian Bowen and Naz Mitrou-Long. Having spent time with Tom this last season, I am confident that he will continue to cultivate talent and provide great value for the organization, both in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.”
Meanwhile, Steve Gansey is the outgoing coach of the Mad Ants. After a four-month contract extension to finish last season, lasting through the end of October, his contract was not renewed and he is a free agent.
The Mad Ants published a simple tweet on Nov. 30 with “Thank you” and the list of Gansey’s accomplishments, including 123 wins. He served as Mad Ants head coach for the previous five seasons, and was the interim head coach during the 2011-12 season.
Levy, who was hired as GM in Sept. 2015, did receive a contract extension. Chris Taylor is back as assistant GM.
The Pacers have two players on two-way contracts, second-round pick Cassius Stanley and Brian Bowen II, who suffered a partial groin tear in early December. They also have the rights to Naz Mitrou-Long, Amida Brimah, Rayshaun Hammonds, Josh Gray and Devin Robinson.
Below are the 18 participating teams.
Agua Caliente Clippers (LA Clippers)
Austin Spurs (San Antonio Spurs)
Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Delaware Blue Coats (Philadelphia 76ers)
Erie BayHawks (New Orleans Pelicans)
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Indiana Pacers)
Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets)
Ignite (Draft-eligible players + veterans)
Iowa Wolves (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Lakeland Magic (Orlando Magic)
Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets)
Memphis Hustle (Memphis Grizzlies)
Oklahoma City Blue (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Raptors 905 (Toronto Raptors)
Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets)
Salt Lake City Stars (Utah Jazz)
Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors)
Westchester Knicks (New York Knicks)