After getting a taste of single-digit temperatures Tuesday morning, the Maine Red Claws hopped on a plane bound for California for a five-day stay in Santa Cruz.

It’s the annual NBA D-League Showcase, where all 19 franchises gather for four days of play under the watchful eyes of international and NBA scouts.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Red Claws Coach Scott Morrison, who recently became Maine’s franchise leader in victories in just his second season. “It’s warm there and it’s nice to not have to travel between games. You can get settled for a few days and get a chance to see all the other teams, so we’ll scout some teams that we play soon.”

Each team is scheduled to play twice. The Red Claws (11-7) face Bakersfield (9-11) at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Reno (10-7) at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Forward Omari Johnson, guard Andre Stringer and center Ralph Sampson are the only current Red Claws who played for Maine during last year’s Showcase event, which dovetails with the time of year when NBA teams can sign free agents to 10-day contracts. That window opened Tuesday.

Last year, 47 D-League prospects earned 10-day NBA contracts, including four during the Showcase and nine more in the two weeks that followed.

“It’s a great opportunity to show what you can do, to impress as many people as possible without having to travel all over the country,” Johnson said. “Everybody’s in one spot so it’s a good opportunity for the players.”

Dave Lewin, the Celtics’ director of scouting, will attend the Showcase along with two other members of Boston’s front office: Austin Ainge, the director of player personnel and inaugural Red Claws coach; and Remy Cofield, a basketball operations assistant.

“We’ll be there mostly to evaluate the talent around the D-League,” Lewin said outside the Red Claws’ locker room after a recent game at the Portland Expo. “It’s also a good chance to see some NBA players on assignment up close.”

Two months into the D-League season, several names have emerged for the 30 NBA teams to watch. A few of those names may be from Maine, although none of the Red Claws is generating buzz of the sort that followed Tim Frazier last season. Frazier, who wound up as the D-League’s MVP, earned two 10-day contracts last February with the Philadelphia 76ers before catching on with his current club, the Portland Trail Blazers.

“If you do the right stuff and play well in that (Showcase) setting,” Lewin said, “that could move you even closer to a call-up.”

Lewin and Morrison try to remind players that NBA scouts aren’t necessarily looking for prolific scorers. Any D-League call-up is likely to find himself on the end of an NBA bench.

“They’re looking for guys who play a team game, play defense, hit open shots and make smart plays,” Morrison said. “That’s kind of how we’ve been successful the last two weeks.”

The Claws enter the Showcase having won 5 of 6 and nearly erasing a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter Sunday at the Expo in a loss to Delaware.

“We’ve got to bounce back and win both of our games there,” said Celtics rookie Terry Rozier, who is likely to join center Jordan Mickey as one of two Boston players on assignment in Santa Cruz with the Red Claws. “There’ll be a lot of eyes. There’ll be some great competition. It should be a lot of fun.”

Mickey, who was named Tuesday as D-League Player of the Month for December, and Rozier both draw NBA salaries. Other NBA teams can’t pluck them from Maine’s roster.

“I’ve got a contract,” Rozier said, “but I want to go out there like I don’t have one, and focus on the competition.”

The front-office folks will also take note of coaches who may be considered for future openings. Conner Henry, for example, was named 2014 D-League Coach of the Year and in June was hired as an assistant for Orlando. He is one of 23 former D-League coaches that have been hired by NBA teams in the past two seasons.

“We pay a lot of attention to the coaches, who’s doing a good job, how they’re interacting with players, how they’re managing the team,” Lewin said. “There’s a lot of coaches who come into the NBA through the D-League.”

The D-League’s reigning Coach of the Year? That would be Morrison, in his second season with the Red Claws after making the jump from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

“I think Scott has impressed some people with what he’s brought to the table,” Lewin said. “Obviously, I see him all the time.”

Lewin called the Showcase “the biggest stage this league has. Everybody is there.”

Morrison said he’s not a big networker, but does look forward to reconnecting with people he met while coaching the D-League Select team in the Las Vegas summer league.

“But my main goal while I’m out there,” Morrison said, “is to just do a good job scouting opponents and get the team ready to play as best as I can and keep our guys improving.”

The Red Claws return to the Expo on Jan. 15-16 for a weekend series against Canton.

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