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NBA Draft Profile:
Hasheem Thabeet, Uconn

Posted on 24. Mar, 2009 by Justin Shulman in nba-draft

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Standing 7′3 and weighing in at 263 pounds, Hasheem Thabeet defends the goal better than anyone in the college game. Born and raised in Tanzania, Thabeet wanted to use basketball to elevate his life. Hasheem never took up the game until he was 15, and thus had a long way to go before he could fulfil his dream. Undeterred, Hasheem moved to Houston and attended Texas Christian School where he wowed collegiate scouts to the tune of 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks per game. He played his AAU ball with the TMAC All-Stars gaining a reputation and climbing all the way to #39 on scout.com’s Top 100 in the class of 2006. Thabeet had offers from Louisville, Uconn, USC, Oklahoma, and Miami. He chose to become a Huskie and play for hall of fame coach Jim Calhoun. The Rest of Thabeet’s story has been seen on ESPN for the last three years. He’s slowly become the most dominating defense player in the country, as well as improved on his ability to finish and collect offensive rebounds.

Thabeet’s draft stock is rock solid. Almost a guarantee to go top 5, he could climb as high as #2. Not to sound cliche, but the saying goes, “you can’t teach 7′3″….You can however teach someone who is 7′3, and there will be plenty of NBA head coaches drooling for the chance. The kid is a late bloomer, who’s coachable, and wiling to work. Thabeet has improved leaps and bounds every year on campus. Statistically his numbers in every single category have elevated. As a Junior Hasheem is averaging 13 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game.

Offensively he’s got a long way to go. He needs to develop a go-to post move, needs to extend his range to 10 feet, and would benefit by adding more muscle to his enormous frame. Defensively this kid can do it all. He possesses many of the same skills that had scouts smitten about Greg Oden two years ago. He can rebound, he can alter shots around the rim, and he blocks shots at an alarmingly high rate. In fact many Big East coaches have said Thabeet is the best shot blocker in Big East history. Meaning, they think he was better than Mutumbo, Alonzo Mourning, and Patrick Ewing. That’s high praise from people who see him play night in and night out. His footwork on defense is quite good, and his ability to stay on his feet when someone throws a fake is extrodinary. Being 7′3 helps no doubt, but he really has excellent instincts. The most impressive thing Hasheem does out on the floor is he doesn’t foul. Considering the guy IS Uconn’s help defense that’s pretty darn impressive. He fouled out of only two games so far in his Junior season, and one of those went 6 overtimes. (Hasheem lasted 5) To sum it up, I would say Hasheem is blessed with a body that has NBA written all over it. His attitude is ideal, his skills are improving daily, and he should be one of the most coveted players in the 2009 NBA Draft.

Will be selected: pick #2-5
NBA Comparison- Dikembe Mutumbo

Nolan Shulman
nolan@flagrantfouls.com

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