When Duke forward Jayson Tatum’s name was announced as the third pick of the NBA draft by the Boston Celtics, Travis Benoit broke into a wide smile.

“Solid pick,” said Benoit, who has a tattoo of a shamrock on his right biceps and Celtics mascot Lucky the Leprechaun on his left calf. “He’s going to grab boards. The Celtics got outrebounded so many times last year.”

Benoit, 34, grew up in New Hampshire and still lives in Concord. He made the trip Thursday night to Bayside Bowl with two friends from Portsmouth for a draft party hosted by the Maine Red Claws, Boston’s Developmental League, er, G League affiliate.

“I hate Duke, but I love (Tatum),” said Caley Nevin, 25, of Portsmouth.

“And we all know they play defense at Duke,” said Derek Thompkins, 49, also of Portsmouth. “He’s going from one tradition to another.”

A crowd of about 60 fans, most of them season ticket holders of the Red Claws, gathered in an upstairs balcony overlooking eight new lanes of the recently expanded bowling center. There was bingo and raffles and speculation about whether Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, would pull off another trade after his deal with Philadelphia moved Boston down two spots from No. 1 to No. 3 and added yet another first-round pick to the team’s growing collection.

Steve Rosenbloom, a season-ticket holder from Cape Elizabeth and retired bus driver, was hoping Ainge would be able to package the third pick and Jae Crowder to entice the New York Knicks to send 7-foot-3 forward Kristaps Porzingis to Boston.

“That would have given them a tall guy they haven’t had for a few years,” said Rosenbloom, 62. “But Tatum’s a good pick. He’s got a great fallaway jumper, but his defense is a little weak.”

The acquisition of a big man seemed to be on the minds of most Celtics and Red Claws fans.

Tom Perkins, 64, of Cape Elizabeth sits next to Rosenbloom at Red Claws games and was clutching a Coron Williams Red Claws road jersey won in a raffle at the party.

“I think the pick was good, but I still think they need a center,” Perkins said. “It showed in the playoffs this season. They got overwhelmed because they don’t have a big man in the middle.”

The party was largely over before the end of the first round, so the fans at Bayside Bowl will have to read about the Celtics’ selections in the second round at Nos. 37, 53 and 56. Those are the players more likely to don Red Claws uniforms next year, particularly with the addition of 16th and 17th roster spots available for two-way contracts between the G League and NBA.

Cindy Lerman, 69, of Portland and Pam Barker, 70, of South Portland are known to Red Claws players as, respectively, Nana and Grammie. Lerman bakes them cookies, Barker bakes cupcakes and muffins. They watched intently from a couch along with Steve Lerman, 69.

“As long as they keep the core five, I’m happy,” said Barker, referring to recent Boston draft picks Jaylen Brown, Guerschon Yabusele, Abdel Nader, Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

The latter four played for the Red Claws this spring.

Although neither the Celtics nor the Red Claws has made an official announcement, many of the fans at Thursday night’s draft party had heard through the grapevine that Scott Morrison, who led the Red Claws to three Atlantic Division titles in his three years, would be joining Stevens as an assistant coach for the Celtics.

“Morrison did a tremendous job,” said Perkins, the season-ticket holder from Cape Elizabeth. “They had a good run. Now we’re going to see how they do with a new boss.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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