Spotlight On Hasheem Thabeet
Thabeet (417) is second on UConn's all-time blocks list to Okafor (441). He averaged 4.2 blocks a game in 100 career games, second to Okafor, who averaged 4.3 in 103 games. Thabeet has one of seven triple-doubles in UConn history, posting 15 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks against Providence Jan. 31, 2009. The best performance of his career came in a triple-double near miss.
Jerome Dyson to a season-ending knee injury, Thabeet put on a show for the top-ranked Huskies in a 62-54 victory at Seton Hall. He had career highs of 25 points and 20 rebounds, and also had nine blocks. Thabeet also made 10 of 13 field goals. Thabeet was the Big East and national defensive player of the year as a sophomore and junior, and the Big East player of the year (with Pitt's DeJuan Blair) as a junior. He joined the 1,000-point club against Purdue in the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA Tournament and finished his career averaging 10.3 points.
NBA career: Like Okafor, Thabeet left UConn after his junior season and was selected second overall in the NBA draft by the Memphis Grizzlies.
His first year was a struggle. It included a broken jaw early on and, later, a temporary demotion to the D-League.
Thabeet averaged 3.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks and 13 minutes in 63 games for the Grizzlies, who hope that Thabeet, who didn't start playing basketball until he was in high school, will come along over the years as he did at UConn.
After playing six games with Dakota in the developmental league, Thabeet returned to the Grizzlies in March. As the Grizzlies fell further and further out of the playoff picture, he saw more action but was never highly productive. Thabeet three times posted season highs of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Personal: Thabeet is a bona fide celebrity in Tanzania, the first person from that country to play in the NBA. He has met presidents and done a considerable amount of charity work with children in his home country.