November 18, 2012

On Basketball: Joseph gets the chance to play for Red Claws, and play he did

It was just a scrimmage for the Maine Red Claws, but Kris Joseph showed his array of talent.

By Kevin Thomas
Staff Writer

AUBURN - Kris Joseph got the opening tip, dribbled, waited, then sent a lob to the hoop. A soaring Chris Wright caught it and finished the alley-oop slam.

Joseph then made a steal and raced in for a reverse dunk.

Minutes later, Joseph launched himself in the key, switched hands during some serious air time and rolled the layup in.

Having a Boston Celtic around can sure be entertaining.

Joseph was one of the main attractions as the Maine Red Claws played an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday night at Edward Little High. He was one of the three leading scorers with 19 points, with Micah Downs and Wright.

"It was cool," said Joseph, who got little playing time with Boston. "I haven't played up and down like this in a while."

Joseph, a 6-foot-7 forward, and 7-foot center Fab Melo are the two Celtics players on this Red Claws team. Melo scored 15 and had at least five blocks.

Coach Mike Taylor said there was a lot to like Saturday night.

"A good, competitve scrimmage," Taylor said. "We showed a lot of positive signs. We also saw some things we need to work on."

The Red Claws have to have their roster down to 12 (counting the two NBA players) by Wednesday.

The season opener is Friday in Canton, Ohio.

RAHEEM SINGLETON, who graduated from the University of Maine last spring, started at point guard Saturday, going against a D-League first-round pick, Shelvin Mack.

Singleton, who scored nine points, played solidly on both ends of the court.

"Raheem is a real competive kid," Taylor said. He came into camp with the probably the longest shot to make the team. and he really helped himself this week and tonight."

THE TOP 30 prospects in the NBA D-League, according to the NBA, included three Red Claws in the top 17 -- No. 4 Chris Wright, No 6. Shelvin Mack and No. 17 Brian Cusworth.

Wright, a 6-8 small forward, started last season with the Red Claws before playing 24 games with the Golden State Warriors.

Mack played his rookie season last year with the Washington Wizards.

Cusworth's appearance on the prospect list may be a surprise because he's never played in the NBA and has played a total of one game over the past two seasons because of an ankle injury. He scored 18 points Saturday.

Cusworth, a 7-foot center from Harvard, has played often in the NBA summer league, and was scheduled to be in the Celtics' preseason camp before being slowed by a stress fracture in his foot.

According to NBA rules, Cusworth was claimed by Boston as an affiliate player and sent to Maine, as was Downs, a forward.

MACK ALSO was recognized on the NBA's list as one of the top 10 point guards in the D-League. Mack was listed at No. 6.

The No. 1 point guard on the list was Carl Joseph of the San Antonio Spurs. He recently was assigned to the Austin Toros.

DAQUAN BROOKS is another point guard who arrived via a tryout. Brooks may be climbing the highest obstacle, being a rookie out of a Division III program.

At West Connecticut State, Brooks could take over a game with his scoring. He's being asked to do a lot more as a pro.

"I've been waiting a long time to prove I can play at this level," Brooks said.

"It's a lot different. Not just back and forth, up and down. It's more about smarts and shot selection, and making the right play."

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

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

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