It was mid November 2021 when I entered the Portland Exposition building on a very very mild day with the temperatures around 60 degrees. It had had been almost 9 years since I had last visited a G-League game in Portland. The last time I had ben a guest of the then Maine Red Claws head coach Mike Taylor who I had gotten to know when he had been coach in Germany with ratiopharm Ulm. On this day, I was excited to watch many ex NBA players play like Greg Monroe, Chris Clemons, Luke Kornet or Ryan Arcidiacono to just name a few. But I also was excited to see my ex classmate from Avon Old Farms Peter Duggan who works in the organization and ex NBA player and assistant coach Awvee Storey who I had covered in Germany in 2007 where he was in between having been in the NBA and going back. I had a good seat 3 rows behind the Maine bench and as expected I was entertained with a high scoring G-League game. I had a good view of the bench and was able to observe the timeouts very well. I saw so many ex NBA players, it was hard to believe that so many could be ensembled in one place, but there were also other guys who hadn’t been in the NBA and most likely won’t get there. There was one guy that caught my attention. He didn’t look like a player, but more like a water boy or team trainer. His name is Eric Demers (185-G-1997, college: Gordon). He kept looking up to his wife and baby and friends who were watching him and giving that warm smile. When you come from Massachusetts, which is just around the corner, then it’s obvious that you will have people there cheering you on. Only there was one problem. He didn’t play on this night. In the back to back games against Capital City, he would see action the next night, but only log 4 minutes. But I actually knew who he was. I did my research on him when I was in Germany before coming to the States on a short vacation to visit my family and was fascinated that he was a NCAA 3 player. It isn’t rare to see loads of NCAA players balling in the G-League seeking that one in a million opportunity to play in the NBA, but a NCAA 3 player? I don’t think that there have been many NCAA 3 players get that golden chance to play in the G-League, but Eric Demers has received that chance. He probably won’t get an NBA call, but I see him making an impact elsewhere. Going overseas and having a great career is the most logical thing happening soon. ” He’s a guy that fits well on any team because he’s a competitor and always puts the team first. Plus every team needs a shooter! I’m proud of E because I watched him since he was in middle school. I watched the grind and I respect him as a player but more importantly a person. He’s a great person inside and out’, replied ex Umass-Dartmouth (NCAA3) standout Jordan Rezendes. I bet that he will be overseas in the next two years and possibly in Germany. ‘I guess we will have to see if your bet is correct or not. All I know is I want to play for a team with opportunity for growth in my career and somewhere safe for my wife and son to live with me as we pursue this dream together. It’s hard to say where I would be if the pandemic did not hit. I am enjoying my time with the Celtics but I definitely see myself playing in Europe at some point in my playing career’, stressed Eric Demers.It is only a matter of time before Eric Demers becomes a household name in Europe, but for now he is living the dream with the Maine Celtics.
Eric Demers who doesn’t remember losing many one on one games to ex Gordon teammate Terry Aljernod or others was born on March 12, 1997 in West Wareham, Massachusetts. It didn’t take him long to have that first experience with a ball as with 6 months he made his first basket with a plastic ball. He grew up not far from Cape Cod in Acushnet, Mass and balled at Falmouth high school. He then played at division 3 school Gordon in Wenham, Mass only 10 minutes away from beautiful Gloucester. He had a solid freshman season averaging 12.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 40.3%, 3PT: 33.8%, FT: 61.4%. He was having another solid season as a sophomore averaging 14.7ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.9apg, FGP: 39.5%, 3PT: 37.8%, FT: 83.3%, but after 7 games his season ended with a tough bone injury in his right shooting hand. He came back the next day and pulled a Larry Bird shooting only with his left hand. He missed the rest of the season and concentrated on getting healthy again. In this time, he met a very important individual named Matt Chewning who ran a small ministry in the area. He and his wife who have 4 small kids of their own took him in as a temporary house guest. This was a vital time of finding himself. He came back to school in 2017 and would really heighten his game in the last two years and made a giant leap as a senior. In his sophomore and junior years he averaged 23.4ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.6apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 47.8%, 3PT: 42.0%, FT: 84.3% and 23.4ppg, 4.5rpg, 2.9apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 39.4%, FT: 85.3%. He made a massive jimp as a senior averaging a ridiculous 32.4ppg, 5.6rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 44.8%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 88.5%. He was so close to belonging to a select group of only 6 guys that averaged 33,0ppg in a season this century. Even if he made a big jump as a senior in his game, it didn’t surprise him. ‘I think I had a very steady progression in college and continued to get better every year. In my senior year I was just provided with more opportunity and responsibility and I was able to take advantage of it’, stressed Eric Demers. He had many incredible games like pounding Nichols College for 49 points and had an amazing stretch where he scored 30 points or more in 15 minutes in a row. He even proved that he could lite it up against a NCAA team when he poured in 42 points in an exhibition game against Hartford when he was double and tripled teamed at times. A big contributor to him becoming the player that he is today was head coach Tod Murphy who always had the key ready to open the gym doors late at night so he could shoot shoot shoot. ‘Coach Murphy just instilled a lot of confidence in me. He believed in my dream and held me accountable on a daily basis to continue to get better’, stated Eric Demers. Jordan Rezendes never played against him in the NCAA 3, but grew up in the same area and played at the same gym. He remembers what was key for him being able to have gone the path he is going now. ‘He was always a hard worker and a student of the game. He trusted and believed in himself. He is a great shooter that plays with confidence. He still can’t guard me but that’s little bro’, joked Jordan Rezendes.
The Mass native who lists Garrison Duvivier, Jaren Yang, Sam Hauser, Ryan Arcidiacono, and Theo Pinson as his five best teammates of all-time had to wait a year until he began his rookie season. COVID hit in 2020 which disallowed him to begin his career as the many shut downs made it very challenging. ‘I used the year to network and work on my game as I prepared to take advantage of my opportunity when it came’, said Eric Demers. COVID had a big strain on him overcoming not being able to start his rookie season sooner, but he stuck it out. ‘It was challenging to stay focused on my own goals while some of my peers were still able to play professionally last year. I had to grow in my patience and persistency and continue to work on my game as I waited for my professional opportunity’, commented Eric Demers. He then got a great opportunity to take part at the TBT which was founded in 2014 and is a single elimination process with the winner getting 1 million dollars. Over the years the TBT has showcased some of the best like Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Kristaps Porzingis just to name a few. Not only was this a perfect opportunity to show his skills on the floor, but also to network off it. ‘The Basketball Tournament really helped my jump start my career in a lot of ways. Being able to play well there was great exposure that soon landed me in NBA summer league with the San Antonio Spurs and now with the Celtics’, remembered Eric Demers. But it wasn’t only high profile guys that he was able to duel against, but also witnessed other talented guys that didn’t play division one basketball and he had one highlight. ‘For me it was hanging out with D’vontay Friga. He is a fellow D3 basketball player who has created a career for himself using basketball in a different way. It is always cool to hang out with some high level guys’, added Eric Demers.
The ex Gordon (NCAA3) stand out who lists Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram as his toughest opponents in his career continued to go step by step in his young basketball career as the TBT allowed him to take part at the 2021 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He suited up for the San Antonio Spurs and played two games. In the first game he saw 2 minutes against Utah, but in the second game logged 19 minutes against the Oklahoma Thunder scoring 12 points and grabbed 3 rebounds. ‘For me it was all about taking advantage of my opportunity. I wanted to be able to prove myself in that game so I would be able to open doors to future opportunities’, commented Eric Demers. It didn’t matter where he looked in Las Vegas, he was always around noteworthy people so he tried to soak up as much valuable information as possible especially from the Spurs coaching staff. ‘I was reminded to take advantage of windows of opportunity whether they be small or large’, expressed Eric Demers. He had other highlights that summer including working with highly skilled point guard Shabazz Napier who won the 2014 NCAA title with UConn and had a respectable NBA career and now is overseas for the first time playing for Russian Euroleague team Zenit St Petersburg. ‘It was great getting to know and working with Shabazz. We are both local guys to Boston so it just made sense for a couple of pros to help make each other better. I look forward to future summers training with him’, said Eric Demers. He also had the grand opportunity to train with the Boston Celtics two best players Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. He didn’t see that being like a kid being in a candy story, but just a day to day encounter. ‘I don’t think it’s overwhelming at all. If anything it just builds confidence in myself that I can play on the same court as those guys’, stated Eric Demers.
The guard who has Jordan, Bird, Wilt, and Curry on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore then had a dream come true signing with the Boston Celtics farm team Maine Celtics. ‘Being a part of the Celtics organization has definitely been a childhood dream come true. Growing up watching and rooting for the Celtics it was always a dream to play for them as a kid. I know I am fortunate to live out a childhood dream playing for your hometown team and I do not take that lightly’, stressed Eric Demers. He joined a team that had so many guys with NBA experience like Ryan Arcidiacono, Chris Clemons, Luke Kornet, Bruno Fernando, Broderic Thomas or Theo Pinson that he could really get lost in the shuffle, but with time he has made strides especially in the minutes department. ‘We have a unique roster for the G-League. More than half our roster has played in the NBA. It is a tough team to be on as a rookie as far as playing time. I have worked my way into the rotation but I do know I am going to gain a lot of value from this experience with all this NBA experience. Even if it doesn’t fully show this season I know it is going to be very beneficial going forward as a professional basketball player’, warned Eric Demers. He also has had no worries about not being respected. You might think as soon as guys hear division 3 that you won’t be taken seriously, but that hasn’t been the case. ‘I think the way I play the game guys learn to respect my game pretty quickly. I am very proud to represent NCAA 3 but at the same time I want to be known for more than just ‘the D3 guy’. I want to prove myself to be a very good professional basketball player’, stated Eric Demers. He could put on a blind fold and chose a player to be his mentor and he wouldn’t go wrong with the vast collection of experienced talent Maine has, but instead he has picked Ryan Arcidiacono who won a NCAA title with Villanova and played some years with the Chicago Bulls. ‘Ryan Arcidiacono has become a very good friend of mine. It has been great to see how someone like him with his NBA experience carries himself on a daily basis. I have learned a ton from Ryan’, expressed Eric Demers.
The sniper who thinks Michael Jordan is the GOAT has a game that has been compared to NBA players like Patty Mills, Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Duncan Robinson. Obviously his shooting has always stood out, but he is in no way one dimensional. ‘I think I have a complete game. I am able to pass and rebound well at my size. I am a team player and play well within different team systems. I am the type of player that can fit in pretty easy with anyone or any team’, said Eric Demers. In his first 4 G-League games he played only 21 minutes combined, but in his next two games played combined 36 minutes. His minutes continued to rise in December and January as he played 39 minutes in two games. ‘I think early on in the G-League my shooting ability will be my niche. I do hope to prove that I am a complete player at the professional level this year in the G-League’, expressed Eric Demers. His minutes have really risen in the last 7 games as he has averaged 35 minutes per game. His best games were against Windy City netting 17 and 15 points and 15 points against the Raptors. His three pointer continues to be a big focus in his game. Peter McLelland once said that he doesn’t have a range, but wherever he gets the ball that’s it. ‘I definitely like that statement. I feel confident shooting the ball anywhere on the court’, warned Eric Demers. As he continues to work on gaining experience in the G-League and growing towards becoming a complete player, he knows exactly on what area’s of his game need to be tweaked the most. ‘For me it is just continuing to grow in my efficiency. I want to be able to shoot the ball at a high rate while making plays for my teammates without turning the ball over’, said Eric Demers. It will be interesting to see how he closes out the G-League season and how much his game can progress. The guy definitely has talent, but just needs to get good minutes to gain experience so he can be prepared for that next step and opportunity. So where will it be next season? United States or Europe? ‘My goal playing for the Maine Celtics is just to improve overall as a basketball player. It is to learn as much as I can so I can carry things over to my next team. I am not sure what next year holds and where I will play whether it be in the United States or in Europe but I do know my experience with the Celtics will help me next year’, stressed Eric Demers. I still am betting with overseas. His game can translate anywhere. It would be nice to be able to say next year that I saw Eric Demers Live in the United States and in Germany.