The more immediate concern for Boston is evaluating a sprained ankle that he suffered recently. Austin Ainge, director of player personnel, said Yabusele will be evaluated by the Celtics’ medical staff this week and will be sent to the Maine Red Claws if the ankle is OK.
“We’re hoping to get him a few games with the Red Claws,” Ainge said. “Get him some experience in the D-League and Summer League.”
Yabusele, a 6’8″ forward out of France, was the 16th player selected last season. He played 43 games with the Shanghai Sharks, averaging 20.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per night.
“It was a challenge for me, being over there as a young player,” the 21-year-old said. “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 [in the] first round of the playoffs, but I am more [confident] as a player; it was good. My game is better than it was before.”
Yabusele hopes to join the Celtics next season. The team plans to invite him to training camp and give him a chance to earn a place on the roster, but making the team won’t be easy. Ainge said Boston plans to give one spot to Croatian center Ante Zizic, whom the team selected at No. 23 last year. The Celtics have 10 players on their current roster with guaranteed contracts for 2017/18, along with a lottery pick from the Nets. Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko, Gerald Green and James Young will all be free agents.
“I’m really excited about it,” Yabusele said about his chance to play in the NBA. “I’m going to give my all for the team, give my all for the Boston Celtics. I’m ready.”