While those players taken in the first round of the NBA draft justifiably got most of the attention, there seemed to be an inordinate number of college stars, such as DeJuan Blair who went in the second round. Which will make the biggest NBA impact? That's the question for this week's Monday Tip...[details]
HEADER HASHIM THABIT MANKA (Hasheem Thabeet) Center University of Connecticut Huskies #34 7:03.0-269 Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania Cypress Christian School
OVERVIEW One of the biggest enigmas in the 2009 NBA Draft, there is no questioning Thabeet's athleticism and shot-blocking skills. A developing 7-foot-3 athlete, he's only an adequate rebounder with marginal offensive skills and gets backed down in the post too often for a player of his size.
Getting a shot over the physical paint presence became almost impossible. When gauging Thabeet's potential, scouts have to view him as an athlete with upside just four seasons of organized basketball development.
The Tanzanian-born Hashim Thabit Manka, more widely known as Hasheem Thabeet, has made a "nice living" altering the opponents' shots. He had 417 blocks ranks second in school history behind Emeka Okafor (441, 2002-04), while his 152 blocks last year are topped by Okafor's NCAA national title 156 blocks during the 2002-03 campaign.
Three of the school's top performances for blocks in a game (10) belong to Thabeet, who accomplished that feat vs. Texas Southern as a freshman, vs. Notre Dame as a sophomore and vs. Providence during his junior season. He would become just the 13th player in NCAA Division I history to average over four blocks per game (4.17) during a career.
Thabeet came to the United States as a teenager, settling in Houston, where he attended Cypress Christian School. He was an All-City second-team selection as a senior, averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game. He received a four-star prospect rating from Rivals.com and was heavily pursued by Louisville, Miami and Cincinnati before accepting a scholarship offer from Connecticut.
Prior to enrolling at Connecticut, Thabeet competed in the 2006 Global Games in Dallas as a member of the African team. He helped his squad to a fifth-place finish by averaging 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots. He had 14 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Puerto Rico and added 10 points, nine boards and six blocks in a loss to the United States.
Thabeet made an immediate impact as a true freshman for Connecticut during the 2006-07 season. He earned All-Big East Conference first-team honors, as he started all 31 games in the pivot. He led the team with 118 blocked shots, averaging 6.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game. He was also a member of the Hispanic College Fund Classic All-Tournament team after he grabbed nine boards with three blocks in the finale vs. Mississippi.
Thabeet was named Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. He was a second-team All-Big East and NABC All-District I choice. He led the team in blocks in 28 games, including 26 games with at least three blocks, while also earning seven double-doubles. He started 32-of-33 contests, finishing with averages of 10.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game. He also ranked third in the nation with a total of 147 blocks, the third-highest season total in school annals. His 94 blocks in the team's 18 Big East games set a league record.
Thabeet earned second-team All-American honors from the Associated Press, USBWA, Sports Illustrated and FoxSports.com as a junior. He was chosen the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and named Co-Player of the Year, in addition to receiving All-Big East first-team recognition. The NABC All-District V pick was also named a finalist for the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy.
In 2008-09, he registered 18 double-doubles, scoring a career-high 489 points (13.6 per game) while starting all 36 games. He shot 64 percent from the field (178-of-278 field goals), averaged 10.8 rebounds per game and blocked 152 shots, an average of 4.2 per game, ranking second in the nation in that category.
2008-09 SEASON Earned All-American second-team honors from the Associated Press, USBWA, Sports Illustrated and FoxSports.com...All-Big East Conference first-team choice, as he earned league Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive season and was also selected the conference's Co-Player of the Year...Added USBWA District I Player of the Year accolades and was a finalist for the USBWA Oscar Robertson National Player of the Year Trophy...Named NABC All-District V first-team...Started all 36 games at center, ranking second in the nation with 152 blocked shots, the second-best season total in school history...Logged 1,145 minutes of playing time, scoring 489 points (13.6 per game) on 178-of-278 field goals (64.0 percent) and 133-of-212 free throws (62.7 percent)...Grabbed 388 rebounds, ranking 12th in the nation with an average of 10.8 per game...Handed out 17 assists (0.5 assists per game) and had 22 steals (0.6 steals per game), as he turned the ball over 68 times...Produced 18 double-double performances, including one triple-double...Featured on the covers of the Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine college basketball preview issues.
2007-08 SEASON Named Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year...Second-team All-Big East and NABA All-District I pick...Started 32-of-33 games at center, leading the team in blocks 28 times, tallying at least three on 26 occasions, while also earning seven double-doubles...Totaled 346 points (10.5 points per game) on 118-of-169 free throws (69.8 percent) and 114-of-189 field goals (60.3 percent) in 1,024 minutes...Averaged 7.9 rebounds (260 total), dished out 12 assists (0.4 assists per game) and had nine steals (0.3 steals per game)...Turned the ball over 58 times...Ranked third in the nation with 147 blocked shots (4.5 blocks per game).
2006-07 SEASON Named to the Big East Conference All-Rookie Team, Thabeet started all 31 games as a freshman, scoring 193 points (6.2 points per game) behind 67-of-121 field goals (55.4 percent) and 59-of-115 free throws (51.3 percent)...Logged 762 minutes on the court, coming up with 199 rebounds (6.4 per game), 12 assists (0.4 per game) and six steals (0.2 per game)...Ranked sixth on the school record list with 118 blocked shots (3.8 blocks per game)...Led the team in blocks on 23 occasions, putting up two or more in 25 contests.
CAREER NOTES Thabeet started 99 of 100 games at Connecticut, logging 2,931 minutes of action (29.31 minutes per game)...Scored 1,028 points (10.3 per game), as he shot 61.1 percent from the field (359-of-588 field goals) and 62.5 percent from the foul line (310-of-496)...Ranks 18th in Big East Conference annals with an average of 8.47 rebounds per game (847 total), as he recorded 41 assists with 37 steals...Became the 13th player in NCAA history to average more than four blocked shots per game (4.17) in a career, joining Connecticut's Emeka Okafor (441 total, 4.28 blocks per game, 2001-04) as the only school and Big East players on that prestigious list...His 243 blocks in Big East games set the league record, while his 94 blocks vs. Big East opponents in 2007-08 topped the old league record of 93 by Alonzo Mourning of Georgetown (1991-92)...His 417 blocks vs. all competition rank second in Connecticut annals behind Okafor's 441...His 118 blocks as a freshman rank sixth on the school single-season record list, as his 147 in 2007-08 rank third and 152 in 2008-09 rank second, surpassed only by Okafor's 2002-03 season total of 156...Shares the school record of 10 blocked shots (vs. Texas Southern in 2006, Notre Dame in 2008 and Providence in 2009) with Okafor (vs. Army in 2003) and Donyell Marshall (vs. Hartford in 1994)...His block totals vs. Notre Dame (2008) and Providence (2009) rank third among league players vs. Big East competition, topped only by Dikembe Mutombo of Georgetown (12 vs. St. John's in 1989) and Samuel Dalembert of Seton Hall (vs. St. John's in 2000).
HIGH SCHOOL Attended Cypress Christian (Houston, Tex.) School...Earned second-team All-City honors as a senior, as he averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game...Received a four-star prospect rating from Rivals.com.
INJURY REPORT No injuries reported.
OTHER TOURNAMENTS/TEAMS SUMMER: Prior to enrolling at Connecticut, Thabeet competed in the 2006 Global Games in Dallas from June 19-24, as a member of the African team...Helped his squad to a fifth place finish by averaging 7.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocked shots...Had 14 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Puerto Rico and added ten points, nine boards and six blocks in a loss to the United States.
PERSONAL General Studies major...Son of Thabit Manka (deceased) and Rukia Manka...Born Hashim Thabit Manka (pronounced: Ha-Sheem Thaa-BEET) on February 16, 1987 in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
SCOUTING REPORT Positives: Has outstanding height and wingspan to excel as a shot blocker...Demonstrates explosive leaping ability to crash the boards for the rebound or alter a high-release shot attempt...Shows good foot quickness and above-average mobility for a player his size...Gets down the court with a quick stride on fast breaks and does a nice job of drawing contact to get to the free throw line...Regarded as one of the best defensive players in the draft and plays with a solid work ethic...Still a basketball neophyte, but picks up plays quickly and adjusts well to the action in the paint...Coordinated post defender who uses his long arms effectively to steal the ball or disrupt the action in the passing lane...Has the frame to carry at least another 20 pounds of bulk without losing quickness...His best asset (the one part of his game that is NBA ready) is his shot-blocking skills, but he has shown improvement on offense...Has the large, soft hands to catch, turn and shoot...Very coachable athlete who quickly absorbs what the staff is teaching him, as he takes what the opponent gives him...Uses his body well to step out and draw the charge and is quite efficient defending from the weak side...Lacks an array of offensive moves, but is effective getting open in transition or playing the half-court game...When given room to operate under the basket, he is capable of putting the ball in with his off hand...Has explosive leaping ability to get off the ground from a static position and despite his inexperience, is not the type that will commit too early on the defensive end, especially when the opponent tries to fool him with pump fakes and hesitation moves...Slides his feet when moving out to defend vs. perimeter shooters and has the vision and anticipation skills to get in front when the shooter attempts to angle, slash and turn the corner...Developed a good right shoulder fake to force the defense to commit and is working on developing a swift left hook shot...Seems to show better hand-eye coordination on help defense than when matching up one-on-one...Has become an above-average outlet passer...Has an effective touch on his shot around the rim, but must develop some confidence in his mid-range shot...Led the nation's big men by converting 62.7 percent of his offensive chances in the half-court game...Uses his size well to clog the middle (does a nice job in rotation) and is not the type that will get too impatient (rarely in foul trouble)...Dominating presence in zone defense and defends the rim better than any player in this class...Became more comfortable playing with his back to the basket as a junior, doing a nice job of working in the post... Seems to like to catch and finish on cuts, but needs to generate a stronger drive to the basket.
Negatives: For a player his size, he was manhandled by more physical power forwards...Has a long way to go to see if he can ever develop even an adequate mid-range game and his offensive skills are limited to dunks and putbacks (is working on a lefty sky hook)...Despite being over 260 pounds, his legs are very thin and he lacks ideal overall strength...Has an awkward long stride, but manages to get up and down the court faster than his opponent's big men...His footwork and post moves are marginal (gets backed down in the post)...Is effective on help defense, but his shot-blocking skill allowed him to earn Big East Defensive Player of the Year honors the last two seasons...Not as effective on the offensive glass as he's been touted in the press...Passing skills are still evolving, especially as a trigger man out of the post...Hard worker, but he will lose focus on the court at times and is slow to recover...Does draw contact to get to the charity stripe, but is a marginal shooter at the foul line, making just 62.5 percent of his attempts...Gets flustered when pressured inside, lacks a face-up game, and will force his shot when rattled...Lacks even a mediocre jumper...Not the most creative player on the court, whether for himself or others...Bobbles the ball, leading to turnovers...Can be manhandled in the paint and struggles to maintain contact on his opponent on the pick-and-roll...Fails to use his length and wingspan to keep distance when the shooter attempts to jab on him.
Compares To: DeSagana Diop, Charlotte -- The assessment by some "experts" that he is another Dikembo Mutombo (Houston) is off-target. Outside of his excellent shot-blocking skills, Thabeet has the game to develop into a Samuel Dalembert-type, if he can ever work out the kinks with his sky hook and develop any semblance of a mid-range game. Too often he seemed to lack courage on the offensive end and shied away from contact, many of the same traits Diop has shown in his time in the NBA.