2022-2023 Season in Review
By Fort Wayne Mad Ants Staff /April 3, 2023
RELATED: Take a look back at game-by-game highlights from the 2022-2023 season
The Mad Ants set out to 'Embrace the Grind' with the launch of the 2022-2023 season with the return of Justin Anderson, Gabe York and Pedro Bradshaw to the team after a successful 2021-22. General Manager Chris Taylor would also return for his second season at the helm while head coach Tom Hankins returned for his third season.
The Indiana Pacers would acquire a talented pair of two-way players before the season began with second round NBA Draft Pick Kendall Brown, as well as reigning NBA G League MVP Trevelin Queen.
On opening weekend, the Mad Ants got to see one of the new NBA G League rules come to fruition. The league implemented a target score ending for all overtime games during the season. Meaning that whatever the score was after regulation +7 points would be the target score. On opening weekend in Fort Wayne, York would hit a late three against Grand Rapids to force Fort Wayne's first overtime under the new rule. The Mad Ants would go on to outscore Grand Rapids 7-0 in overtime with another York three pointer sealing the deal. The Mad Ants would go 2-1 over the season in overtime games.
On November 15, York would be named the first NBA G League Player of the Week for the season. He could go on to accomplish that feat two more times during the season, winning the award on December 6 and January 24. York became the first player to be named NBA G League Player of the Week three times in a single season since Tim Frazier (Maine) during the 2014-2015 season. No Mad Ant had ever been named Player of the Week three times in a single season; the only Fort Wayne player to ever earn three career Player of the Week honors was Walker Russell, who did it over three different seasons.
The Mad Ants broke three significant single game team records early in the season, setting a single game assist record of 39 on opening weekend against Grand Rapids. The Mad Ants would go on to set a single season franchise record with 1,495 total assists. The team also led the NBA G League in assists during the 2022-2023 season.
On December 9, at Windy City, the team would hit a record 22 three pointers and on December 27 against Maine in Indianapolis, the team would hit 100% from the free throw line for the fourth time in franchise history.
On December 13, as the Mad Ants were wrapping up the 16 game Showcase portion of the season, the Pacers assigned rotation player Chris Duarte to the team on a rehab assignment. The former lottery pick played two games with the team at the Wisconsin Herd. He was one of three Pacers players to be assigned to the Mad Ants during the season, also including Terry Taylor and Isaiah Jackson.
The Mad Ants failed to make the Showcase Cup field in its second year of existence. The in-season tournament field would hold 8 teams (ultimately won by the Ontario Clippers), but the Mad Ants would finish 9th in the 16-game qualifying season, just missing out. The Mad Ants would still participate at the Winter Showcase, defeating Santa Cruz and Oklahoma City; the league used a fourth quarter target score (+25) only for games during the Winter Showcase. Against Oklahoma City, Pacers assignment player Terry Taylor would score 46 points and the game winning shot, helping him earn All-Winter Showcase honors from the league. In that game, Taylor would set the franchise record for most made field goals in a game with 20.
In January, the league would announce the first ever Next Up Game to be held on All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. Though not declared an "all-star game," it would mark the return of a G League focused game to All-Star Weekend with 10 players being selected by fan vote and 14 more selected by the league. Gabe York and Trevelin Queen would be selected by the league to participate. Both would later be drafted by captain Luka Garza (Iowa Wolves) to his team, who would defeat Team Scoot Henderson.
On January 19 in Salt Lake City, coach Tom Hankins won his 50th game leading the Mad Ants. By season's end, he would reach 62 wins to tie him for the second most regular season wins in franchise history as a coach with Conner Henry. On that same night in Salt Lake City, David Stockton moved into 5th all-time in G League history in assists. He had the best single assist game of the season in the league with 19 assists.
In the month of March, rookie Jermaine Samuels would set a field goal record on March 9 against Motor City, going 11 of 11. Also in March, Gabe York tied his own record for most three point makes in a game (9) on March 16 in Westchester.
Injuries plagued the Mad Ants during the final stretch of the season, including a five-game losing streak in February and March. It forced Fort Wayne into multiple must-win games. The Mad Ants responded by winning their final five games of the regular season to qualify for the first playoffs for the team since 2018. To cap off the second longest winning streak to end a regular season in franchise history, the Mad Ants beat eventual NBA G League finalist Delaware Blue Coats on back-to-back days in Delaware. It saw the team earn the 6th seed and a March 28 playoff game at Capital City, where the Mad Ants season came to an end.
The trio of Indiana Pacers two-way player Trevelin Queen, as well as Gabe York and Justin Anderson became the NBA G League's first trio of players to all average 20 points or more per game for a full season since 2019-2020. They are just the seventh trio to do so in league history.
The Mad Ants broke seven franchise single season records during the year: Points (6,090), Points/Game (121.8), Field Goals Made (2,213), Field Goals Made/Game (44.3), Field Goal Percentage (48.5), Defensive Rebounds (1,723) and Assists (1,495).
Individual season long franchise records broken were Jermaine Samuels for field goal percentage (66.3), Gabe York for three pointers made in a season (161) and York/Justin Anderson combining to score 1,933 points as the top scoring single season duo in Mad Ants history. The Mad Ants finished with four players whose single season scoring ranks in the top 16 in franchise history with York (3rd), Anderson (4th), Trevelin Queen (13th) and Samuels (16th).
During the season, the Mad Ants had the 2nd and 3rd largest margins of victory in franchise history with a 42-point win at Cleveland on November 22 and a 38-point win over Santa Cruz on December 20 at the Winter Showcase. Justin Anderson's 32 points at Grand Rapids on February 26 are the most in the first half of a game in franchise history, while Trevelin Queen (19 points on 2/13) and Gabe York (19 points on 11/10) set/tied the franchise record for most points in the third quarter of a game.
Jermaine Samuels moved to 11th on the list of all-time Mad Ant double doubles with 17 while David Stockton recorded 10 double doubles to tie for 23rd on the same list.
On March 30, after the Mad Ants season concluded, Gabe York was rewarded with a NBA Call-Up as a two-way with the Indiana Pacers. It was the second call-up of York's career and the 29th Call-Up in Mad Ants history as York became the sixth different player to earn multiple Call-Ups during his time with the Mad Ants, joining Jeremy Richardson, Chris Hunter, Ben Moore, Nate Hinton and Justin Anderson.