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Athleticism shows at Mad Ants camp opener

November 2, 2016 GMT

The Mad Ants opened training camp for their 10th season tonight and here’s what stood out right away: the athleticism.

The Mad Ants want to play a more up-tempo style this season – coach Steve Gansey spoke about wanting to average 110 points – but the first day was all about defense. And it will be like that for a few days.

“We really want to push up the tempo. Our roster is built on athleticism and getting up and down. Offensively, we want to score 110 points a game,” Gansey said. “But we want to have a good emphasis on defense, too. That’s really the philosophy in this training camp.”

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Some things to know:

-- While the Mad Ants have rarely had a player with local ties, newcomer Nick Zeisloft is one. And I’m not referring to having played at Indiana University. Nick’s father, Mark, went to DeKalb and Nick still has family in Auburn.

-- While Zeisloft and Christian Watford weren’t at IU at the same time, they do know one another. Watford would come back to IU and practice with players and Zeisloft said he was a good mentor to the Hoosiers while he was there.

-- Apparently, the Mad Ants have always had Trey McKinney Jones’ name incorrect on jerseys, rosters and programs. There was never supposed to be a hyphen, yet they had it as Trey McKinney-Jones. McKinney Jones is such a nice guy, he’d never say anything about it. And it’s a common mistake.

-- The Mad Ants don’t know yet who the starting five will be, or, at least, they aren’t saying it even to the players. They want the guys to earn it during training camp. You want my best guess? McKinney Jones, Stephan Hicks, Marcus Simmons, Watford and Alex Poythress. But the shooting guard and small forward positions will have really big battles.

-- Before the regular season opens Nov. 12 at Greensboro, North Carolina, the Mad Ants will likely have to cut two from their 15-man roster.

jcohn@jg.net