Hasheem Thabeet never dreamed of becoming a basketball player and never did he imagined playing on the professional level but growing up in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Hasheem is always on the spotlight hovering among his peers with his 7-foot-3 height and his massive wingspan. An agent saw Thabeet competing in the East African games in Nairobi, Kenya and offered him a scholarship in the US and the rest was history.
He was the NABC defensive player of the year in 2008 and won the big East player of the year with DeJuan Blair in 2009 those accolades landed Thabeet the 2009 second overall pick by the Memphis Grizzlies. Many questioned the Memphis selection considering there are a lot of potential talents among the draft. Thabeet is such a raw player who doesn’t have the offensive arsenal compared to Blake Griffin, Jordan Hill or even DeJuan Blair he can rebound and block the ball well but still he is an unfinished project. Why would the Grizzlies pick Thabeet when they have a number of centers in their roster namely the 7-foot-1 starting center Marc Gasol, Steven Hunter (7-0) and second year center Hamed Haddadi (7-2), Thabeet who is the tallest player on the draft is hard to pass on he was a gamble and the Memphis are hoping there risk will pay off.
Thabeet intimidates driving players and can block with his outstretch arms but he was a foot slower to his counterparts and had limited offense. Haddadi is a much well rounded player and Hasheem who suffered a fractured jaw last November has to spend most of his time in the bench. He reminds me more of Dikembe Motumbo who is a solid defender but had only few offensive moves.
The Grizzlies decided to place Hasheem to the NBA developmental league this Feb. 25. It was a brave move by Memphis sending their no.2 overall pick to the NBDL. He needs to grow and play to his full potential and he could never do that in the bench.
Hasheem will eventually be back with the Grizzlies it’s just hard not to become aware of a 7-foot-3 center who has unlimited untapped potential. He might be a stone but he is a diamond in the making.