PORTLAND – The underdog remained when the Maine Red Claws made their first round of cuts Sunday.
Former University of Maine point guard Raheem Singleton appears to have made the team after four players were released.
After the cuts, Maine’s total roster is down to 13, including two NBA players sent down from the Boston Celtics.
One more player must be released by Wednesday. NBA D-League rosters are limited to 10 players, not counting as many as three NBA players.
After the Red Claws’ cuts, Singleton is the only remaining back-up point guard. First-round pick Shelvin Mack is the starter.
And Singleton is the only rookie remaining, not counting NBA players Kris Joseph and Fab Melo. Every D-League roster must have at least one rookie.
The four players who were cut were 6-foot-9 forward Ron Allen and rookie guards DeQuan Brooks, Cervante Burrell and Farnold Degand.
“What separated Raheem from the rest of the (other three guards) was his work ethic and his attitude,” Red Claws Coach Mike Taylor said.
“We felt he was the best defender of the four players, and the most natural point guard of the four.”
Singleton, 23, came into preseason camp last week, having been invited after impressing the Red Claws and Boston Celtics staffs in a September tryout.
Taylor said Singleton was “probably the longest shot to make the team.”
A 6-footer, Singleton is neither a flashy player nor a prolific scorer. But he can run the offense as well as play solid defense.
“My thing was not to get outworked,” Singleton said. “At this level everyone is talented. Everyone can do certain things. I made sure every day that I controlled the things I can control — the effort, how hard I was going to work, and playing tough.”
A sign of Singleton’s rise on the depth chart was his start in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage, guarding Mack.
“Raheem held his own,” Taylor said. “His defense was a primary part that played in the decision.
“The great thing we like about him is that he wants it. He really wants it. That motivation is a great thing.”
The only way the Red Claws could cut Singleton now is if they gambled with only one true point guard.
They would also have to designate Joseph or Melo as their required rookie on the team.
But if both Melo and Joseph get called back up to the Celtics, Maine would be scrambling to sign another rookie.
Maine currently has a surplus of shooting guards, with Red Claws veterans Xavier Silas (6-5) and Champ Oguchi (6-6); Micah Downs, a 6-8 guard/forward who was in the Celtics’ preseason camp; and 6-2 Corey Allmond, a two-year pro drafted by the Red Claws in the eighth-round of the D-League draft.
“There are a lot of good players ahead of (Allmond),” Taylor said. But “Corey Allmond has played so well. He has a great ability to score and shoot the ball. We value that.
“We want to give ourselves some options as we build the team.”
Allmond scored 18 points in Saturday’s scrimmage in Auburn.
At the forward spot, the Red Claws have the 6-7 Joseph, 6-8 Chris Wright, 6-6 Omar Reed (a fourth-round draft pick) and Downs.
Chris Ayer, a 6-11 D-League veteran whom the Red Claws traded for, can play the power forward or center position.
The other centers are 7-footers Melo, Brian Cusworth (a prospect sent to the Red Claws by the Celtics) and Scott VanderMeer, a seventh-round draft pick.
Of the players released, two came via the draft — Burrell (fourth round) and Allen (sixth) — while Brooks and Degand were invited from the same tryout Singleton attended.
The Red Claws’ season begins Friday in Ohio against the Canton Charge. The home opener is Nov. 30 against the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: