On Friday, they will get to see him in action roaming the sideline as Morrison and the Red Claws host the Canton Charge at the Portland Expo in their home opener. 

Morrison couldn’t ask for a better start to his first season as a D-League coach, winning back-to-back road games to open the year. The Red Claws (2-0) posted a 111-105 victory against Oklahoma City in their season opener on Friday and squeaked out an 81-80 win over Fort Wayne two days later. Maine finished with six road wins last year.

“It’s been fun so far,” Morrison said. “Nothing wrong with winning games. I wish we could start the playoffs right now. We’d be in them. But you can’t get too excited. You have to stay level. I enjoyed the wins while we were on the road, but last night we got home and got back to work. All we have on our minds right now is Canton and Delaware this week.” 

Morrison, a player development coach with Maine last year, has a new crop of talent to work with this season as only four players are back with the team from a year ago. Yet, their top three scorers — Chris Babb (18.5 ppg), Tim Frazier (15.5) and Jermaine Taylor (13.0) — are returners, all of which have bought into Morrison’s system. 

“I like him,” Babb said. “I think he’s good for our program. He’s done a really good job implementing the things that Boston wants me to do. He’s a great guy and the players respect him. He’s easy to play for.” 

The rookies are buying in as well as they make the transition from the college game to the professional game. Frazier, who averaged 14.9 points per game and 5.4 assists per game as a senior at Penn State last year, leads the team with 5.5 apg and is second in rebounds per game with 6.5. 

“This is my first year in D-League, first year with coach Scott Morrison and we’re just letting him lead us,” Frazier said. “We follow what he has planned for us and follow his game plan and we’ve been successful.” 

It only took two games for Morrison to witness just how quick his roster can change, one of the biggest coaching differences from the 11 years he spent at the helm at Lakehead University.

Maine’s starting lineup against Fort Wayne included NBA experience when the Celtics assigned rookies Dwight Powell and James Young to the Red Claws on Saturday. Powell, a 6-foot-11 forward from Stanford, and Young, a 6-6 guard from Kentucky, poured in 21 points each and Powell grabbed 17 rebounds to pace the Red Claws. 

The Celtics recalled them the following day, leaving Morrison to adjust his lineup.

“We got them and then they were gone before we knew it,” Morrison said. “We just have to try and keep our stuff simple so when guys can come in they can make a smooth transition and not get too caught up in the long term. Just try to take it one game at a time and whoever is there to play hopefully they play hard and we put them in a situation where they can be successful with their strengths.” 

The first few weeks of Morrison’s D-League coaching career can be summed up by sleep deprivation, nerves and gratification. The Maine coach admitted to some restless nights, but said he wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

“It’s a great level to be at to learn and develop as a coach,” Morrison said. “We have a good group of guys on the team this year that I’m happy to go to work with every day.” 

As for the nerves, Morrison said there are always butterflies before a game regardless of the stage, but getting that first win off his back was certainly a relief, especially since it came sooner rather than later. 

Now, Morrison gets to experience the home crowd at the Expo for the first time as the head coach of the Red Claws. He’s hoping his team can give the fans a show.

“What I hope they’re going to see is a good team game out there, guys sharing the ball, playing hard on defense, running the floor,” Morrison said. “We don’t necessarily have any one guy that can put the team on his back and win, but we do have a pretty deep team, some good outside shooting and, when we’re on our game, good team defense. Hopefully they’ll see that and if they do see that we have a chance to win.” 

The Red Claws are 2-3 in home openers and 67-59 all time at the Expo. 

“I’ve heard the fan base here is pretty amazing so I’m looking forward to being able to step out on our home court and get a game at home,” Frazier said. 

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