Banners beneath the Portland Expo scoreboard list players who have made the jump from the Maine Red Claws to the National Basketball Association.

Two of the most recent additions, guards Marcus Georges-Hunt and Andrew White, will not only be on the banner but in uniform Friday night as the Claws open their 10th G League season, taking on the Westchester Knicks.

“Another opportunity to play in Portland,” said Georges-Hunt, who spent most of last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves after playing 45 games for the 2016-17 Red Claws. “Great city. Great fan base. I’m excited to play here.”

Andrew White started last season with the Claws and played in 24 games before the Atlanta Hawks signed him to a two-way contract. He wound up splitting time between Erie in the G League and Atlanta, scoring 15 points in 17 minutes in his NBA debut against Detroit on Valentine’s Day.

“It was kind of like an out-of-body experience,” said White, who suited up in three previous NBA games without making it on the floor, of playing against the likes of Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. “Before that Detroit game we had a lot of guys out, a lot of guys injured. An assistant coach just said, ‘Hey, you might get an opportunity tonight, be ready.’?”


White’s opportunity came earlier than expected, with four minutes left in the first quarter. In quick success he had the ball stolen by Reggie Bullock, missed a 3-pointer, missed a layup and fouled Griffin. After settling in, he went on to knock down 3 of 6 from beyond the arc, grab two rebounds, make a steal and pick up an assist.

He played in 14 more games with the Hawks and also helped the BayHawks reach the G League semifinals under Coach Josh Longstaff, a Portland High graduate who is now an assistant with Milwaukee.

White’s departure from the Red Claws, coupled with injuries to center Jon Holmes and Celtics two-way guard Jabari Bird, set the stage for a dismal end-of-season spiral in which Maine lost 17 of its final 18 games. After three consecutive Atlantic Division titles, Maine’s fall from the G League elite seemed particularly jarring.

“When he left we were a playoff team, committed to winning basketball,” said second-year Claws coach Brandon Bailey, who is pleased to have a veteran presence not only in White and Georges-Hunt, but in center Dallas Lauderdale and current Celtics two-way players P.J. Dozier and Walt Lemon Jr.

“Those are great guys for us to learn from,” Bailey said. “Last year we were all rookies, every one of us, coaches included. The only one who wasn’t was (Holmes), and he was injured two weeks into the season.”

White joined the Claws on Tuesday after spending two months in Turkey. Lured by the promise of a big paycheck, he ultimately decided to return to Maine and resume the path that led to success last winter.


“You definitely get big looks over there and big opportunities financially,” he said. “So that was something I exercised and went for, but at the end of the day money is one thing, but you have a small window to really chase an NBA career, which is really what I want.”
Georges-Hunt missed Maine’s most recent playoff run in April 2017 after being summoned first by Miami and then by Orlando. He wound up playing 42 games last season for Minnesota but rejoined the Celtics’ organization last month for training camp.

The goal for both is to join their Red Claws predecessors on current NBA rosters (Guerschon Yabusele with Boston, Tim Frazier with New Orleans, Abdel Nader with Oklahoma City, Rodney McGruder with Miami). By avoiding two-way contracts, they are free to sign with any organization.

“If they’re worried about the future, they’re going to stumble over the present,” Bailey said. “So they’ve got to focus on the here and now, and what they need to do to help us win.”

NOTES: Point guard Kadeem Allen, a former Celtics two-way player who spent most of last season with the Red Claws, is an affiliate player with the Knicks and will play for Westchester on Friday night. … Remy Cofield, the Boston scout and Red Claws general manager, said the Celtic most likely to see extensive time in Maine this season is rookie power forward Robert Williams, who was selected 27th overall in the June draft. “Our bigs situation right now, with Daniel Theis (foot) being out, makes it a little more dicey,” Cofield said, “but at the same time, giving Rob the minutes he needs at this level to better ramp up and be able to play more and more minutes at the NBA level would be huge for us.”

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