Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton has returned from Australia’s National Basketball League and joined the Maine Red Claws, according to his father, Wayne Thornton.
The Celtics selected Thornton 45th overall last June with the intention of having him play overseas. He signed with the Sydney Kings of the NBL and had some success despite tumult within the franchise. The Kings had a midseason coaching change and their star forward, former NBA player Josh Childress, was hampered by injuries.
“I think it was a good experience,” Wayne Thornton said. “The team had some of their own issues, but overall it was a good experience for him.”
Thornton averaged 12.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, but shot just 37.7 percent from the field and 28.1 percent on 3-pointers.
“They’re a lot more physical in terms of the way they let them play,” said Wayne Thornton, who visited his son for three weeks during the season. “It’s a whole different kind of game.
“I think he got a bit stronger. It’s hard to tell whether he made improvements in specific aspects of his game. He worked on his defense, and his shooting wasn’t quite as good as it was at William & Mary.”
Thornton chose to sign with the Kings in part because the short-season league would allow him to come back to the US in time to play in the D-League, too. He spent a week with his family in Maryland upon his return — his first dinner request was Ledo Pizza — and he arrived in Portland on Saturday.
“Marcus will have to make some more adjustments to getting back to the way his game usually is,” Wayne Thornton said, “and he’ll be all right.”
Celtics second-year wing James Young is currently with the Red Claws, and the team recently brought back guard Tim Frazier, who was waived by the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Red Claws play host to the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Sunday night, but Thornton is not expected to play.