Friday, May 24, 2013
PORTLAND — When most people go for a job interview, appropriate attire is required.
For the 50-or-so young men who will attend the Maine Red Claws' Northeast Regional tryout Saturday at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, sneakers, shorts and a good jump shot are the essentials.
''This is like a job interview,'' said Jon Jennings, the president and general manager of the Red Claws. ''You want to impress the boss. You'll be watched from the moment you walk in.''
The Red Claws, Portland's newest professional sports team and an affiliate of the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats in the NBA Developmental League, will be looking for a few good men in this tryout camp, which will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The team already held a tryout in Charlotte, N.C., where over 100 players displayed their skills.
Jennings said the team would like to sign one to three players from the two tryouts to compete in training camp.
''We're actually looking for everything,'' said Jennings. ''We're in a unique situation, which this team will never have again. We literally have 10 roster spots to fill. As of today, we do not have one player under contract.''
The Red Claws selected the rights to 10 players in the D-League's expansion draft, but many are committed elsewhere -- either overseas or at an NBA camp. Only three of the 10 players selected -- guard Billy Thomas of Kansas and forwards Noel Felix of Fresno State and Andre Patterson of Tennessee -- haven't signed elsewhere.
So the Red Claws have plenty of needs, which is why Jennings isn't being specific about what the team is looking for. ''A couple of guys really stood out down in Charlotte,'' said Jennings. ''After Saturday, we'll sit down (Jennings and the coaching staff) and basically decide who we're bringing to camp.''
Many of the players coming to the tryouts have played in college. ''I can't tell you the number of calls I've gotten from agents asking to see if their guys can come to camp,'' said Jennings. ''And these are real agents, not someone operating from the backseat of their car.''
But Jennings fully expects to get some streetball players, too.
''There are guys who simply want to say they tried out for a pro team,'' he said. ''There are guys who never really played organized ball, in high school or college, but are pretty good on asphalt courts. Others come from very tiny, tiny, tiny colleges who never got scouted. And there are guys who have a little bit of a rep, that you've heard of, but haven't had the break that they wanted.
''It runs the gamut. These are players doing everything they can to make a team.''
Among the players trying out will be Jamaal Caterina, the former Deering High and USM star; Robert Pilsbury, from Portland and Husson; Brian Wohl, from Westbrook and Stonehill College; and Matt Clement, a former Lawrence High player now living in Portland.
The registration fee is $150 in advance, or $200 for those who show up at the door. But not just anyone can take part: participants must meet D-League eligibility requirements. Registration forms are online at www.nba.com/dleague/maine/tryoutsnortheast.html.
The Red Claws staff, which includes head coach Austin Ainge and his assistants, Randy Livingston and Mike Procopio, will put the players through drills and scrimmages.
''What we're really looking for is basketball IQ,'' said Jennings. ''I think that's what separates players, average players from good players, and the great players take it to a completely different level.''
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: