There’s more to this meal than one jumbo-sized Tacko.

Although much of the attention – and rightly so – has been focused on 7-foot-5 center Tacko Fall, the Maine Red Claws enter their 11th season of NBA G League action with a deep and talented roster and an intriguing new head coach.

In the first game since the parent Boston Celtics competed purchase of the franchise from local ownership headed by Bill Ryan Jr., the Red Claws broke their single-game scoring record. With neither Fall nor Trey Davis (who holds the individual scoring record of 57 points) in the starting lineup, the Claws routed Delaware on the road last weekend, 148-125.

“Obviously that’s a lot of points,” said Davis, who will wear jersey No. 57 this season in honor of his output the night of March 18, 2018. “But at the rate we’re going, we can get more points than that.”

Against Delaware, the Claws hoisted 105 shots, nearly half of them (51) from beyond the arc. They often practice with a 16-second shot clock rather than the 24 used in games.

“We play hard and we play fast,” said Darren Erman, who took over as head coach this season after four years as associate head coach of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. Erman is a former assistant coach with the Celtics and Golden State Warriors who got his start after ditching a corporate lawyer job in order to work with legendary high school coach Bob Hurley in Jersey City, New Jersey.


“Coach Hurley was big into defense,” Erman said. “Defensive shell concepts, playing team defense, we do that every day.”

Fall came off the bench and played 25 minutes in the season opener. He blocked three shots, half the total of another Celtics rookie, Romeo Langford, a 6-foot-4 swingman who had six blocks to go along with 27 points.

The Celtics assigned Langford, a first-round draft pick out of Indiana, to Maine on Thursday, so expect him to be here Friday night, as well for Sunday’s matinee against Raptors 905.

Red Claws forward Kaiser Gates, who is 6-foot-8, from Xavier played in the G League for Windy City last season.  Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The rest of the starting lineup figures to be Kaiser Gates, Yante Maten, Bryce Brown and Tremont Waters. Gates is a 6-8 power forward from Xavier who played in the G League for Windy City last season. He can guard multiple positions.

Maten is another 6-8 forward who is one of Maine’s three affiliate players, meaning they spent time at Celtics training camp this fall. After playing in college for Georgia, Maten earned a two-way contract with the Miami Heat last season, appearing in two NBA games while spending the rest of his time with Sioux Falls.

Tremont Waters works on a passing drill at the Portland Expo Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Brown is a 6-3 guard who led Auburn to the NCAA Final Four before falling by a point to eventual champion Virginia. Erman likens his style to that of former Celtic Avery Bradley and calls him “a pit bull on the ball.”


Waters, a 5-10 point guard chosen by the Celtics in the second round of the June draft after his sophomore season at LSU, is one of Maine’s two-way players. Along with Fall, they can spend up to 45 days with the Celtics, earning a pro-rated share of the rookie minimum salary ($898,310). While with the Red Claws, they earn $79,568.

In the season opener, Waters drained 7 of 11 shots from beyond the 3-point arc and led the Claws with 28 points to go along with three assists and four rebounds.

Bryce Brown shoots a 3 during practice. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“A magician with the basketball,” Erman said. “He’s got high basketball IQ. Can really shoot it. Can pass it. We got lucky. We’ve got a lot of talent. We’ve got to make sure this talent plays hard and plays together.”

And what to expect from Fall, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds in 25 minutes in the opener? He’s still working on all aspects of his game, from dribble handoffs to rolling after picks to learning when and where to switch off on defense.

“He’s coachable,” Erman said. “He’s getting much more comfortable.”

The other affiliate player is Dorian Pickens, a 6-5 guard from Stanford who saw five minutes of action in the opener. Returning Red Claws are Davis, Justin Bibbs, Sheldon Jeter and John Bohannon.


Guards Jaysean Paige (West Virginia) and Wayne Blackshear (Louisville) round out the roster.

“It just seems like the collection of players we have is overall better,” said Jeter, a 6-8 forward. “Last game, when the starters came out, there was no drop-off or letdown. Every day, practices are competitive.”

Bibbs, who earned a 10-day NBA contract with the Los Angeles Clippers last season, said everyone is embracing Erman’s frenetic pace.

“He wants to get a lot of possessions, a lot of 3s, a lot of layups and no (mid-range) 2s,” Bibbs said. “His method worked last game. Hopefully, it will work the rest of the season.”

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