Draft Buzz - Hasheem Thabeet to Enter NBA Draft

Fri, 04/06/2007 - 12:14pm

By Aran Smith

[img_assist|nid=3944|title=Hasheem Thabeet - AP Photo: John Bazemore|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=371]Sources close to the situation have indicated that center Hasheem Thabeet will enter his name into the 2007 NBA draft. He will likely test the draft process and wait to hire an agent.

Thabeet, from Tanzania had a solid first season playing for the UConn Huskies. He averaged 6.2 ppg, 6.4 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game.

He is extremely raw offensively and would benefit in the long run by returning to UConn for his sophomore season. But he is anxious to help out his family and bring his mom to the United States.

With such a premium on centers, NBA teams do not hesitate to take a player such as Thabeet with a high pick. Just in the past three years five center projects were taken in the lottery: Andris Biedrins - 11th pick in 2004, Robert Swift - 12th pick in 2004, Andrew Bynum - 10th pick in 2005, Patrick O'Bryant - 9th pick in 2006 and Saer Sene - 10th pick in 2006. As centers with limited immediate impact, but a lot of potential these are high risk/reward picks.

Thabeet is considered a great kid with an excellent work ethic and enthusiasm for the game. He's not to be confused with Peter John Ramos, or considered a player with questionable motivation or off court concerns. He has proven himself (at least defensively) on the NCAA level.

Having played the game for just a few years, Thabeet can be awkward on the offensive end and easily pushed off balance. But as former coach and current ESPN analyst Rick Majeras described him, he has "soccer feet", his dexterity and foot speed are freakish for such a big player. His balance and offensive skills will improve with experience and added strength.

At worst, Thabeet will be a defensive stopper and rebounder. His offensive game could really come around as he shows solid shooting form and touch from the free throw line. Although he shot just 50% from the line, his numbers are sure to increase with repetition.

With considerable upside, Thabeet is considered a lock to be a first round pick and likely a late lottery to mid first rounder.

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