High school to host Red Claws tryout
For the first time in its five-year history, the Maine Red Claws will conduct a local open audition to help team officials construct this year’s roster.
The open tryout will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Scarborough High School.
Cam Twiss, the team’s director of basketball operations, said the tryout would include basketball drills, as well as game action.
“Seeing them play in a game action, five-on-five, is really the best way to evaluate talent,” said Twiss, who has been with the team since it started in 2009.
Head coach Mike Taylor said an open tryout such as the one that will be held in Scarborough is one way teams in the NBA Development League evaluate talent and fill rosters.
“We are trying to evaluate not only players from the region, but players from all over the country who are chasing the dream of playing professional basketball,” said Taylor, who is about to start his second year coaching the team.
The Scarborough tryout will be the second held by the Red Claws this fall.
An invite-only tryout was held Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Celtics’ practice facility in Waltham, Mass.
Twiss said five players from the tryouts can be protected and invited to training camp, which is set to begin in early November. The players who are not protected can enter the D-League draft, which will take place Friday, Nov. 1.
The team has a history of signing players who have tried out at open tryouts.
According to Will McClaran, the team’s director of public and community relations, the Red Claws held open tryouts at the University of Massachusetts-Boston from 2009 to 2012.
In that time, the team signed Abdulai Jalloch, a guard who played nine games in 2009-2010; Stanley Thomas, a forward who played in two games in 2009-2010; Mike Williams, a forward who played eight games in 2009- 2010; Lamonte Ulmer, a forward who played two games in 2010-2011; Jamar Abrams, a guard/forward who played nine games in 2011-2012 and Tyc Snow, a guard who played in nine games in 2011-2012.
In 2011, when the team was affiliated with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Red Claws held an open tryout in Philadelphia and signed J.R. Reynolds, a guard who played three games in 2011-12 and Justin Brownlee, a strong forward, who averaged eight points and nearly five rebounds over 50 games with the Red Claws in 2011-2012. Brownlee is a member of the New York Knicks training camp roster.
Raheem Singleton, a former guard at the University of Maine, was signed after an invite-only try-out in 2012, but was released shortly thereafter and didn’t play any games with the Red Claws.
Taylor said each of the 17 D-League teams is allowed to hold a tryout in their hometown and one in the affiliate city.
“This year we wanted to branch out and improve how we do things,” Taylor said of the reason for having the local tryout. “It should be a great opportunity for us to see some great players.”
The Red Claws team is no stranger to the Scarborough High School. In November 2011, the team held a scrimmage to raise funds for the Scarborough High School athletic programs.
“We considered facilities all over the area,” Twiss said. “The reason we went with Scarborough is it is such a nice facility. We go there a couple times a year if the Expo is occupied.”
Taylor said it is too early to determine how this season’s roster will shape up. Rosters in the D-League, he said, are always in flux. The Maine Red Claws are coming off a 26- 24 record. The team made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, but lost to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the first round of the playoffs.
“The D-League is a unique league in that rosters are changing month-to-month, week-to-week, even day-today,” he said.
There is a chance that some players from last season could return. Taylor said as Oct. 4, there were 12 former Red Claws players on NBA training camp rosters. The Red Claws would retain the rights to those players who played for the team within the last two years if they don’t make the final NBA cut.
“It is too premature to know yet what the roster will look like, but that is what we’ll spend the next month working through,” Taylor said.
This year’s season kicks off at the Portland Expo Friday, Nov. 22 when the Red Claws host the Springfield Armor at 7 p.m.
“I’m really excited for the upcoming season and look forward to bringing some great basketball to Portland. It is a great city and a great place to play,” Taylor said.
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