Celtics

Celtics

BOSTON -- The Dancing Bear is in the building, folks!
 
Guerschon Yabusele, selected by the Celtics with the 16th overall pick in last June’s NBA draft, will watch tonight’s game after arriving in the States earlier this week following the completion of his season in the Chinese Basketball Association. 
 
The Celtics could certainly use another banger around the paint, but the plan for Yabusele begins with evaluating the status of his recently sprained ankle. 
 
Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel, said Yabusele will be evaluated by the team’s medical staff this week. If that goes well, Yabusele will play with the Celtics’ Gatorade League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
 
“We’re hoping to get him a few games with the Red Claws,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “Get him some experience in the D-league and Summer League.”
 
As far as his ankle injury is concerned, Yabusele doesn’t think it’ll keep him from playing with the Red Claws.
 
“It feels good,” he told CSNNE.com following the Celtics’ pregame shoot around. “I’m here to see the doctors. Right now, I don’t feel the pain anymore.”
 
In 43 games (4 starts) with the Shanghai Sharks, Yabusele averaged 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range.
 
“It was pretty good. It was a challenge for me, being over there as a young player,” said Yabusele, 21. “It was a great experience for me to go over there. I learned a lot about playing basketball, being a pro when you are not in your city. We had a great season. We lost first round of the playoffs, but I am more [confident] as a player; it was good. My game is better than it was before.”
 
And that was exactly what the Celtics were hoping he would come away with during his time with the Shanghai Sharks. 
 
Yabusele’s talent was often overshadowed due to him playing with older players. But the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Frenchman showcased an all-around game in China that gives the Celtics hope that he can come in next season and compete for a spot in the team’s regular rotation. 
 
And while his numbers in China were good, big-time numbers in China can be a bit misleading. That’s why the Celtics are eager to see what he can do with the Red Claws, which would give them a better sense of where he’s at in terms of his game. 
 
And for Yabusele, it affords him a chance to learn the Red Claws’ playbook, which is the same as the Celtics'.
 
If he’s cleared by the Celts to play for the Red Claws, Yabusele said his goals are pretty straightforward. 
 
“Just help the team, learn the set plays, be around the guys . . . have good chemistry for next year and just be ready to play,” he said. 
 
The Celtics plan to have both Yabusele and their other first-round pick from last year, Ante Zizic, in training camp next season. 
 
Because Zizic’s season could potentially run into June, don’t expect to see him until Summer League. 
 
Yabusele is also expected to be on the Summer League roster, knowing that the plan for him involves being with the Celtics next season -- and unlike tonight’s game against Minnesota, he likely won’t be a spectator.
 
“I’m really excited about it,” said Yabusele, referring to playing next season. “I’m going to give my all for the team, give my all for the Boston Celtics. I’m ready.”