FORT WAYNE – Tim Ohlbrecht’s savvy and instincts were on display in the closing seconds of the Mad Ants’ opening-round playoff victory Friday.
The 6-foot-11 center did a little extra work to make sure Matt Bouldin could get a shot off with 6.3 seconds to play with Fort Wayne trailing Reno by a point, and more importantly, he was in the right place to put back the game-winning basket in a 97-96 victory.
Maybe it is kind of illegal, but it’s the European style and nobody saw it, I was holding the arm from the other guy so he couldn’t block Matt, so he was kind of stuck, Ohlbrecht said after Tuesday’s practice as the Mad Ants prepared to open the semifinals at Sioux Falls tonight.
Matt just put it up, and I was right there to tip it in. It was kind of the perfect play. It was not planned, but I’m really glad we got that win there.
The Mad Ants are glad they got Ohlbrecht.
The team traded a first-round draft pick to Rio Grande Valley on March 1 for Ohlbrecht. It was a trade made because of need – center Brian Butch left the team to play in the Philippines on Feb. 3 – and because of the team’s admiration for the German’s skills
(Team president) Jeff (Potter) had liked Tim for a long time. I had known Tim’s game a little bit, not a lot, from playing against him the last two years at RGV (Rio Grande Valley), coach Conner Henry said. I knew he was smart, so that pleased me. I knew he was 7-foot. I knew he could be a big body for us.
Where he has really surprised me is how smart he is. He clearly knows basketball. He’s been well taught from overseas in Germany and playing at a high level from a very young age. I’m surprised that he’s a better shooter. I did not think he was a very good shooter. He’s surprised me there.
Ohlbrecht averaged 11.1 points and 6.5 rebounds in the final 13 games of the regular season for the Mad Ants after averaging 12.4 points and 7.1 rebounds in 32 games with Rio Grande Valley.
He averaged 10 points and 8 rebounds in the Mad Ants’ sweep of Reno in the opening round.
He’s always got a knack for being around the ball when it goes up, Henry said.
That’s something that is not taught. That’s natural instinct, go get it. He’s had numerous putbacks for us, not only in Reno to win the game with five seconds to go but in a few of the regular-season games down the stretch. We have a high-intellect guy, and when he gets his motor up and gets fully into the game, he’s a very efficient player for us.
And just like he has a knack for being in the right place for tip-ins, he feels he is in the right place at the right time as the Mad Ants chase the D-League title.
It is just great that I came to a good place like this, Ohlbrecht said. They treat me like I’ve been here since the beginning of the season. It’s just completely family like. The whole team is so nice to me.
I’m just feeling like I was the last puzzle in this team to get this championship here. We are in a good way. The chemistry is good. Nobody is like in a bad mood. I think the whole lines are set to be in the finals and get that championship.