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Mad Ants
Vs. Iowa
When: 7:30 p.m.
Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Point guard Peyton Siva, right, who was sent down by the Detroit Pistons, is expected to be with the Mad Ants through Jan. 11.

Ants’ guard counts move as a blessing

Pistons rookie getting chance to improve game, gain experience

– Last year, Peyton Siva won an NCAA championship with Louisville and was a second-round draft pick of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.

But on Monday night at Memorial Coliseum, he was chatting with fans, all smiles, looking forward to the next game and not bothered that he’s in the D-League with the Mad Ants.

“I’m definitely excited to get a chance to play,” said Siva, a point guard, who averaged only 5.8 minutes over 13 games with the Pistons. “A lot of people thought it was a bad thing (getting sent down), but I take it as a blessing to come down and work on my game and compete with some high-level guys and take my game even further.”

With the Pistons, Siva averaged less than a point per game.

“It’s been a great experience. You learn a lot up there. You learn a lot of different reads,” he said.

In his Mad Ants debut, he gave a reminder of his capabilities.

He had 24 points, five rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes of a 107-102 loss to Rio Grande Valley on Dec. 28.

Siva tweaked his wrist in that game and sat out Monday’s 103-101 loss to Sioux Falls but should be back on the floor tonight against Iowa. He is one of three NBA players on the Mad Ants’ roster, including Pistons teammate Tony Mitchell and the Indiana Pacers’ Solomon Hill. Hill, who had 19 points in his D-League debut Monday, is expected to return to the Pacers after tonight’s game. Siva and Mitchell should be here through Jan. 11.

The Mad Ants also brought back another Tony Mitchell, who was the D-League’s Rookie of the Year last season, though it’s unclear if he’ll play tonight as he needs clearance from the league. Last season, Mitchell averaged 21.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for the Mad Ants. He began this season in China.

“I just want to continue to find people and keep knocking down my shots and be consistent,” said Siva, 23, who hails from Seattle. “Unfortunately (in my first game) I came down on my wrist and it started cramping up, … but it’ll get better, and I’ll continue trying to be a better point guard.”

The addition of Siva has enabled the Mad Ants to go with three dynamic guards at the same time – along with Ron Howard and Trey McKinney-Jones – and it has quickened the pace of the offense.

“We now can make plays off the bounce,” coach Conner Henry said. “We can even go smaller and run Sadiel (Rojas) at the 4. … We’re a little bit more athletic and having those three guys on the floor allows us to go off the bounce and make plays.”

Note: The Mad Ants’ trade of Olek Czyz to Canton was finalized. They will get a second-round pick in this year’s D-League draft and the rights to Brady Morningstar, who is not currently in the league.

jcohn@jg.net

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