FORT WAYNE — The Mad Ants won’t have to wait until today’s NBA Development League draft to make their selection for the No. 1 overall choice. They reportedly already have their man.
JaJuan Johnson, the 6-foot-10 forward from Purdue who was drafted by the New Jersey Nets and subsequently traded to the Boston Celtics, will be the team’s No. 1 choice in the 7 p.m. draft, a source said.
Johnson averaged 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds his senior season at Purdue and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
He was dealt to the Celtics, where he played 36 games last season and averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.
Johnson was then traded to Houston and released by the Rockets on Monday.
Johnson’s best game with the Celtics came in a 95-91 victory over Chicago when he shot 6 of 13 from the floor for 12 points, had four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.
Because the Mad Ants finished with the worst record in the D-League last season at 14-36, they got the No. 1 overall pick for today’s draft.
“When we go into this draft, we’ve got two needs,” Mad Ants president Jeff Potter said. “We need a three man and we need a four. On the three man side, someone with some size and ability to put the ball in the hole. On the four side, we’ve got to get a player with some real athleticism and guys who can defend the paint, which will help our defense a great deal. Those are the types of players we’re looking for, and we think we’ve got some good options.”
Johnson’s former Purdue teammate, Chris Kramer, played with the Mad Ants during the 2010-11 season. Kramer is playing in Europe.