Frank Gaines is like everyone else playing in the NBA D-League, trying to prove his worth on the court.
For Gaines, it is nothing new. Out of high school, he was not recruited by Division I schools and only made it through connections. Out of college, Gaines got a workout with the Atlanta Hawks this past summer, but he was not drafted, nor invited to a preseason camp.
So here he is in the D-League, the second-round draft pick of the Maine Red Claws, who play Friday night at 7 in the Portland Expo.
Gaines, a 6-foot-3 guard, does not start. But when he comes off the bench, he sizzles. Gaines is second on the team in scoring (17-point average) behind Chris Wright (24).
“Frank has been a pleasant surprise,” Coach Mike Taylor said. “We gave him a role that he could develop in. But he’s been far advanced of our expectations.”
Gaines can slash to the basket or hit the three (13-for-25). While some players prefer to start so they can get in a rhythm, Gaines looks ready to go when he enters.
“I didn’t want to think that I have to score when I get in. I just want to go in and play the game,” Gaines said.
The scoring “just comes.”
The scoring has always been there.
Gaines was a standout player at Boyd Anderson High School in Fort Lauderdale, helping the team be a state contender. But no Division I colleges or universities showed interest. Gaines had to recruit a school.
“A family friend called a guy at Drake,” Gaines said. “They signed all their guys, but he knew a team that needed a wing – IPFW.”
IPFW: Indiana University/Purdue University at Fort Wayne.
“I never heard of it,” Gaines said.
The school is the result of two universities merging their regional campuses in Fort Wayne, Ind. And the Mastodons were born – a team which plays Division I.
Gaines worked out, setting the school record for career points (1,841). He was among the top NCAA Division I scorers his last two years at school, with a 20.4-point average.
With NBA teams showing little interest, Gaines signed up for eligibility in the D-League draft and the Red Claws got him in the second round.
With guard Jermaine Taylor out for the season with a knee injury, Gaines’ productions becomes even more important.
“He’s one of the big reasons we’ve been able to be consistent,” Mike Taylor said.
THE NEW 7-FOOTER on the Maine Red Claws is Zeke Marshall, obtained Tuesday in a three-team trade.
Marshall, a rookie out of the University of Akron, was playing in the Taiwan Super Basketball League before he recently signed an NBA D-League contract.
The Reno Bighorns obtained the rights to Marshall and the Red Claws dealt for him.
In the trade, Maine sent its first-round pick in next year’s draft to the Santa Cruz Warriors. Santa Cruz sent a second-round draft pick in 2014 to Maine, and post player Mickell Gladness to Reno.
Marshall is Maine’s second 7-foot center, along with Ty Walker.
To make room for Marshall on Maine’s roster, the Red Claws are expected to de-activate forward Romero Osby, who has been sitting out of practice with a pulled hamstring.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at: