He has not been able to find a barbecue joint that meets his high standards.

But Chris Babb will find the open player.

Or the open shot.

Or the loose ball.

“I just try and do everything I can,” said Babb, a 6-foot-5 rookie guard for the Maine Red Claws, who return to the Portland Expo on Thursday night.

After three weeks on the road, the Red Claws play three home games in four days, starting at 7 p.m. Thursday against the Canton Charge.

And if the Red Claws follow their usual script, Babb will be on the floor for most of the game.

He is not the leading scorer for Maine (he’s third, with an 11.9 average), although he leads in 3-pointers made with 77.

He is not the top rebounder (also third, with a 6.1 average).

And he is not the top assist guy (second, with a 3.3 average).

But Babb does lead the team in minutes per game (37.5). Not only is Babb key to the offensive flow, he is often Maine’s top defender.

“Chris Babb is a very educated basketball player, one of the most intelligent players I’ve been around,” Maine Coach Mike Taylor said. “He knows how to play.

“He’s like a Peyton Manning out on the court. He understands his job. He understands everyone else’s job. He can cover for his teammates if there is a breakdown or mistake.”

Babb, who turned 24 during the trip, is a native of Kansas. After seventh grade his family moved to Arlington, Texas, where his father eventually got into the barbeque business, opening up Babb Brothers BBQ & Blues in nearby Dallas.

“He’s always been cooking,” Babb said. “I’ve been eating barbeque my whole life.”

Babb initially played his college ball at Penn State but transferred to Iowa State, graduating in 2013. He averaged 9.1 points a game but was also named to the Big 12 Conference all-defense team.

Undrafted out of college, Babb and his agent entertained invitations to NBA training camps. One offer came from the rebuilding Celtics.

“My agent thought it was the best situation,” Babb said.

In camp, Babb did not play in the first two preseason games, but entered the next in the fourth quarter and scored 12 points in an eight-minute span.

“Chris Babb has been one of the best workers, has had one of the best attitudes and been one of the best teammates since day one,” Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said in his postgame press conference.

When the first cuts were made, Babb stayed. Eventually he was let go.

“I hung in there, down to the last day,” Babb said. “I thought about (making the team) but I didn’t really get my hopes up. In this business you can’t do that.

“Can’t think too much about it or it becomes personal. I try to just take it day by day, and treat every day like it’s a new opportunity.”

As a rookie member of the Celtics’ training camp, Babb’s D-League rights belonged to the Red Claws. He’s here, hitting 3-pointers “and making all the little plays,” Taylor said.

“He’s a guy you can count on.”

NOTE: The starting time for the Red Claws’ game Sunday has been switched to 4 p.m., from the original 1 p.m.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH