Hasheem Thabeet: Another big-man bust from UConn?

dmayberry@opubco.com Modified: June 12, 2009 at 1:58 pm •  Published: June 12, 2009
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"I think (Thabeet) wants everyone to believe that he's full of this powerful confidence," said Mike Anthony, who covers the Huskies for the Hartford Courant. "I think he does have some confidence. But I think he does have some fear about the challenges of being great and meeting those expectations of everyone expecting him to be great."

Gottlieb credited Calhoun's system for helping some of his former players stand out, specifically big men who benefit from guards being instructed to funnel players into the teeth of the defense where shot blockers loom. Nonetheless, Gottlieb said, Thabeet is legit and has the size, timing and fundamental principles of defending without fouling to excel at what he does best at the next level.

"He really has made remarkable improvement, and for a period of time he dominated college basketball," Gottlieb said of Thabeet, who averaged 4.2 blocked shots before declaring after his junior season. "They're making everybody drive to him, and nobody wants to drive at him because he blocks everything."

Thabeet was last season's Big East Defensive Player of the Year, the same honor Armstrong, Boone and Okafor carried with them as they started their professional careers. But many NBA people who scrutinized Thabeet all season believe he has ample skills to avoid falling into the Armstrong/Boone category.

"He changes games," an Eastern Conference scout told The Oklahoman. "If he doesn't give you anything on the offensive end, he can change the game defensively. There's not a lot of guys in this draft that can come in with their presence alone who can alter the game."

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