November 3, 2012

Red Claws reach out for NBA experience

Former Butler University standout and Washington Wizards castoff Shelvin Mack is Maine's first pick.

By Kevin Thomas kthomas@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

This story was updated at 11:55 a.m. 11/3 to correct that Shelvin Mack left Butler after his junior year.

Shelvin Mack, Omri Casspi
click image to enlarge

Shelvin Mack, shown here as a rookie last year with Washington, hopes to have the Celtics clamoring for his services in Boston.

The Associated Press

RED CLAWS PICKS

Round 1. Shelvin Mack, 6-3, point guard, Butler

4. Omar Reed, 6-6, forward, Bluefield

4. Cervante Burrell, 5-10, point guard, Seattle

5. Jeremiah Rivers, 6-3, guard, Indiana

6. Ron Allen, 6-9, forward, Cincinnati

7. Scott VanderMeer, 7-foot, center, Illinois-Chicago

8. Corey Allmond, 6-2 guard, Sam Houston State

PORTLAND - He is known for raining three-pointers in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, but 6-foot-3 point guard Shelvin Mack has something else on his basketball resume:

NBA experience.

The Maine Red Claws chose Mack with the fourth pick in the first round of the NBA D League draft Friday night. He was one of seven players drafted by Maine.

Mack, 22, was a rookie backup in the NBA last year with the Washington Wizards. The Wizards had drafted him after a stellar college career at Butler.

With Washington, Mack averaged 12 minutes of playing time a game (3.6 points, 2.0 assists). But the Wizards cut Mack cut earlier this week at the end of preseason camp.

"He's an NBA-caliber guard," Boston Celtics Director of Personnel Austin Ainge said. "Solid all the way around. He can pass, shoot, dribble and he can defend. Strong, and a really good person."

Ainge and new Red Claws Coach Mike Taylor headed up Maine's brain trust Friday night in the team's war room on the second floor of Bruno's Restaurant (while season-ticket holders gathered on the first floor).

This was the first draft conducted by the Celtics, as part of their new sole affiliation with the Red Claws. The Celtics make the decisions regarding Maine's coaches and players.

Before the draft, Maine traded its third-round draft pick to the Reno Bighorns for veteran 6-10 post player Chris Ayer.

"It was important to have a veteran big man," Taylor said. "He's a physical front-line guy who can do a lot of things."

Ayer, 29, averaged 6.9 points and four rebounds a game for Reno last year. A product of Loyola Marymount, Ayer played several seasons in Japan and the International Basketball League.

Having traded away their second-round pick last year, the Red Claws did not pick again until the fourth round where they had two selections.

Maine chose 6-6 forward Omar Reed, who played at Bluefield College, and another point guard, 5-10 rookie Cervante Burrell from Seattle University.

In the fifth round, Maine chose a familiar name: 6-3 guard Jeremiah Rivers, son of Celtics Coach Doc Rivers. Jeremiah Rivers played his college ball at Indiana.

In the final three rounds, the Red Claws picked 6-9 forward Ron Allen (Cincinnati), 7-foot Scott VanderMeer (Illinois-Chicago) and 6-2 shooting guard Corey Allmond (Sam Houston State).

"We feel like we have competition at every position and that should push players to perform and push themselves to get better," Ainge said. "It should be a good, competitive camp."

The eight players added to the roster on Friday will join eight other players already invited to training camp on Nov. 12. From those 16, 10 will make the roster. The season opener is Nov. 23.

Other players, namely Celtics center Fab Melo, can come down from Boston to get playing time.

Mack is hoping to get back to the NBA. He was a standout at Butler, leading the Bulldogs to the NCAA championship game in 2010 and 2011. He scored 23 three-pointers in the 2011 NCAA tournament.

Mack opted for the NBA after his junior year, and was chosen by Washington in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft.

NOTES: Former Brunswick High standout Ralph Mims was chosen in the fourth round by the Iowa Energy. Mims, 26, who played at Florida State University, has played in Europe since college As expected, the Fort Wayne Red Ants chose former Celtics forward JaJuan Johnson with the No. 1 overall pick.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

kthomas@pressherald.com

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH

 

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