Babb: Call-up to Celtics 'definitely unexpected'

Babb: Call-up to Celtics 'definitely unexpected'
February 28, 2014, 4:15 pm

WALTHAM, Mass. — When Chris Babb was told to see Maine Red Claws head coach Mike Taylor in his office prior to their game against Canton on Thursday, Babb didn't know what to expect.

The Red Claws were tipping off in a few minutes, so all his thoughts were on preparing to play the first-place Charge. That changed -- quickly.

Taylor called Babb into his office to tell him that the Celtics were going to sign him to a 10-day contract, but not to tell anyone until after the game.

"I had to play the whole game with that on my mind and not tell anybody," Babb said. "It was a great feeling."

It turned out to be quite a night for Babb whose go-ahead three-pointer helped the Red Claws knock off the Charge 110-105.

"It was definitely unexpected," Babb said of the call-up. "I thought I was just going to grind out the rest of this D-League season and start over next year. Fortunately the staff here gave me an opportunity."

Babb, the last player waived from the Celtics' training camp this past fall, is getting an opportunity to fulfill a life-long dream which is to play in the NBA.

And like most players with 10-day contracts, Babb's opportunity came in part at the expense of one of Boston's veterans.

Gerald Wallace has a torn meniscus that will sideline him indefinitely. He also has bone spurs that will be surgically repaired.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens acknowledged Wallace's injury was a role in the team signing Babb.

"But he earned it," Stevens said of Babb being called up.

As the Celtics went about trying to find a 10-day player to fill the one roster spot still left open, Babb was a player they felt would be a good fit.

"His familiarity with us and our familiarity with his character, it's one of the reasons why he's here," Stevens said.

Usually there's a steep learning curve for players who come in this time of year. But having been in the Celtics' training camp coupled with playing for their minor league team, Babb's adjustment probably won't last as long as others.

"I know a lot of the guys," Babb said. "I know a lot of their plays. I'm pretty good at picking up ideas. I think I'll be fine."

And he brings a skill -- shooting threes -- to the Celtics that they desperately need not only to close out this season but going forward as well.

An undrafted rookie from Iowa State, Babb has also proven himself to be a solid defender as well.

"Chris is a guy that is a really tough guy," Stevens said. "He makes shots. He does everything you ever ask. Defensively, he's a very solid defender. He's continued to show himself that way in Maine. He's a guy you have to defend beyond the three-point line."

Sadly, the Celtics don't have too many long-range shooters on the roster who are efficient enough to stretch defenses.

For Babb, the biggest stretch is simply getting an opportunity to be on an NBA roster which he knows is something few ever get a shot at accomplishing.

"I came here with nothing to lose," Babb said. "I was undrafted, no hype coming out of college. Fo rme to put myself in that position is a blessing in itself. I learned so much not only from the coaches but the veterans that are still here."

And he hopes to put that knowledge to good use and earn a contract for the remainder of this season, just like former 10-day contract guy Chris Johnson did recently with the Celtics.