By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
A familiar face will be at the helm of the Maine Red Claws next season as the team announced Dave Leitao as its new head coach on Thursday.
Leitao replaces Austin Ainge who was named the Director of Player Personnel for the Boston Celtics.
Despite the labor battle between NBA owners and the player's union, the Development League is expected to have a full 2011-2012 season.
"We are very, very fortunate to have a coach of the caliber, the record and the proven ability to develop players as coach Dave Leitao," Red Claws President and General Manager, Jon Jennings, told the media Thursday afternoon.
"I could not be more excited about being here," Leitao said.
Born in New Bedford, the 51-year-old Leitao played collegiately at Northeastern for then-head coach Jim Calhoun.
After a not-so-distinguished playing career -- he had career averages of six points and 5.4 rebounds per game -- Leitao later served as an assistant coach on Calhoun's staff at Northeastern and later, the University of Connecticut where Leitao was instrumental in recruiting players such as Richard Hamilton in helping the Huskies win the first of their three national championships in 1999.
In addition to spending two seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Leitao was also the head coach at DePaul University (2002-2005) and most recently, the University of Virginia (2005-2009).
While he was named ACC coach of the Year in 2007, Leitao's last team finished with a 10-18 record which led to his resignation.
A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn
Highlights from the Boston Celtics loss to the Houston Rockets
The bumps and bruises continue to pile up for Isaiah Thomas, adding a new one to the group during Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston.
The 5-foot-9 guard said he strained his right groin in the second quarter, but added that the injury won’t force him to miss any games.
“I’ll be alright,” Thomas told reporters after the loss. “I’ll get treatment. I’ll be fine for Wednesday (against Orlando).”
The injury appeared to have happened shortly after Houston’s Trevor Ariza hit a 3-pointer that put the Rockets ahead 55-45.
At the time it didn’t seem all that serious as Thomas, who had 20 points on the night, came down and drained a 3-pointer.
But after the game, Thomas acknowledged his groin did bother him during the game in which he played 33-plus minutes.
“A few drives I didn’t have the lift,” said Thomas, who finished with 20 points. “It is what it is. I’ll figure it out.”
Thomas, who played in all 82 regular season games last season in addition to each of Boston’s 21 games this season, has dealt with an assortment of injuries including but not limited to, a swollen middle finger injury on his left (shooting) hand.
Thomas, an All-Star last season for the first time, has played at an elite level that should once again position him to be represent the Eastern Conference.
Following Monday’s game, Thomas is averaging a career-high 26.0 points per game which ranks ninth in the NBA along with 6.1 assists.