Tag Archives: Hasheem Thabeet

2009 NBA Draft Lottery Analysis

  1. 1.    Los Angeles Clippers – Blake Griffin, F, Oklahoma

This pick seems like a no brainer. Griffin is the most explosive and entertaining player in the draft. The Clippers got a superstar in the first overall pick. Grade: A+

  1. 2.    Memphis Grizzlies – Hasheem Thabeet, C, UConn

Thabeet is the most the intimidating defensive presence in the draft. The Grizzlies can center their team around Thabeet. He is not the best scorer and needs to learn to play the post. But, at 7 foot 3, he has the tools to be the next Mutumbo. Grade: A

  1. 3.    Oklahoma City Thunder – James Harden, G, Arizona State

Harden is a little bit of a reach here, with better guards still available in Tyreke Evans and Ricky Rubio. Harden does execute the fundamentals better than anyone. He is solid all around, from scoring to defense. Harden will join a young Thunder team that needs another scorer outside of Durant. Will Harden be that scorer? Grade: B

  1. 4.    Sacramento Kings – Tyreke Evans, G, Memphis

The Kings got an outstanding scorer in Evans. His talent, believe it or not, is still raw. The Kings need help everywhere, and sleceting a point guard was a great starting point to the rebuilding process. I like Rubio better than Evans because Rubio is more of a pure point. However, Evans is a better scorer and is more tested than Rubio. Grade: B+

  1. 5.    Minnesota Timberwolves – Ricky Rubio, G, Spain

Rubio is the rawest player in the NBA, but could develop into the best. He hasn’t been tested but plays the point extremely well. The Timberwolves can center their team around this player. Rubio is going to need a couple years to develop, but Rubio is upside in the purest sense. Grade: A-

  1. 6.    Minnesota Timberwolves – Jonny Flynn, G, Syracuse

An outstanding point guard, Flynn gets a team involved better than any other. The Timberwolves took Rubio with the pick before, why take another point guard that isn’t the strongest scorer? Great player. Bad Pick. Grade: D+

  1. 7.    Golden State Warriors – Stephen Curry, G, Davidson

The best pure shooting player in draft is unproven and going to an unproven team. He isn’t the most athletic or durable, but Curry can carry a team. NCAA teams knew that Curry would get the ball and couldn’t stop him. Golden State is the Davidson of the NBA, except they will play teams that have Kobe and Lebron. The Warriors needed a primtime player and they got a matinee player. Grade: C

  1. 8.    New York Knicks – Jordan Hill, F, Arizona

Hill is a great wingman that can score and play defense. He is a solid complementary player, but not the best player to center a team around. The Knicks didn’t get their man in Curry, but Hill is not a bad alternative. Grade: B

  1. 9.    Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan, G, Southern California

DeRozan is inconsistent, but is inexperienced and could develop into a great guard. I see him as the poor mans Tyreke Evans. Raptor fans shouldn’t panic if he struggles his first year or two, because DeRozan needs to grow into the role of an NBA player. Grade: B-

10. Milwaukee Bucks – Brandon Jennings, G, Italy

Who? As a Milwaukee Bucks fan, I am offended by this pick. He is raw, raw, raw talent. Jennings is inexperienced, but could be groomed into a great guard by Michael Redd. Jennings isn’t has great upside, but the Bucks need upside and experience. Good job, Milwaukee. This is why you break my heart every year. Grade: D

11. New Jersey Nets – Terrence Williams, F, Louisville

The now Vince Carter-less nets got a solid wingman in Williams. Williams is athletic and the most fundamentally sound outside James Harden. The Nets selected the player that fit their team best, not the best overall player and that’s why I like this pick. Grade: B+

12. Charlotte Bobcats – Gerald Henderson, G, Duke

The Bobcats stay local by selecting the Blue Devil Henderson. Henderson is athletic and fun to watch. He is a little inconsistent, but he is growing into a great scorer. Henderson also plays great in transition and is an above average penetrator. Grade: B

13. Indiana Pacers – Tyler Hansbrough, F, North Carolina

Big Ty is experienced, professional, and a hard worker. Hansbrough can be a great bench or complementary player in the NBA, but is not athletic enough to put a team on his shoulders. He has great character, but not a lot of upside. Hansbrough is a reach at the 13th pick. Grade: C

14. Phoenix Suns – Earl Clark, F, Louisville

The Suns have dealt away Shaq and Amare, and replace him with underrated Earl Clark. He doesn’t play up to his size, which is a reason not to pick him after getting rid of two outstanding big men. Clark is a solid, unflashy player, and not a very sexy pick. Grade: C+


Final Four Prediction

Michigan State vs. UConn

   Both State and UConn have had impressive runs to the Final Four. State topped number one overall seed Louisville to advance to the Final Four and gain home state advantage (the Final Four is in Detroit.) UConn handidly beat Purdue and Mizzou on their way to the Great Lakes State. The reason why State beat Louisville is because they changed Louisville’s style of play to a slower, half-court Big Ten style. That disrupted Louisville’s offense, but the effect will not be the same on UConn.

   UConn is exceptional in the half-court defense and offense because they can utilize big men Hasheem Thabeet (7 foot 3 inches) and Jeff Adrien (6 foot 7 inches.) MSU does not have the size to match-up with Thabeet, Goran Suton is 6 foot 10. However, Suton has the ability to hit shots from the outside, which would draw Thabeet out for State’s Raymar Morgan and Kalin Lucas to slash to the basket for an easy 2 points. Moreover, is the State can get Thabeet in foul trouble, State has an advantage because their guards can match-up very well against UConn’s A.J. Price and Kemba Walker. This is going to be a defensive slug-fest that’s going to come down to the last basket. UConn’s outstanding free throw shooting (81% against Mizzou) could be a difference maker as well.

   I like UConn. They have a deeper bench and more dynamic big men. Also, in the half court play, I give the advantage to UConn and Thabeet. The X factor for UConn is freshman Kemba Walker. If he can get hot he will take the pressure of A.J. Price and Thabeet. For Michigan State, the X factor is Goran Suton. He played outstanding against Louisville and if he can get Thabeet into foul trouble, it’s going to give State the best chance to win. I look for UConn to edge out State, but don’t sleep on the Spartans! East Lansing is only an hour and a half away. That’s practically home court.

UConn: 62 Michigan State: 59


North Carolina vs. Villanova

   Nova, after struggling with no. 15 seed American University in the first round, has stormed back and beat perennial powerhouse Duke in the Sweet Sixteen and no. 1 see Pittsburgh in the Elite Eight. UNC is a perennial powerhouse themselves and has laid a beat down on Gonzaga and Oklahoma the past two games.

   I like UNC in this game. They have so much talent at every position. From former Naismith winner Tyler Hansbrough to Iron Man Ty Lawson to jack of all trades Danny Green. Villanova can’t really match-up with them. Villanova does have an outstanding guard in Scottie Reynolds and a good swingman in Dante Cunningham. However, UNC has too much talent for Villanova. Also, I wonder how Villanova head coach Jay Wright will respond to coaching in his first ever Final Four. He has the tall task of coaching against future hall of famer in Roy Williams.

   Villanova’s only hope is if Scottie Reynolds heats up. If he scores 30, the Wildcats have a better chance. Pair that with getting the heart and soul of the Tar Heels, Hansbrough, in foul trouble and the Wildcats can have a very good chance. But, that won’t happen. Ty Lawson will take care of the ball, Hansbrough will dominate the paint, and Danny Green and Wayne Ellington will hit lay-ups and jump shots. Sorry, Jay, your run ends now.

North Carolina: 75 Villanova: 65

My 2009 NCAA Final Four

Midwest: Louisville

   Louisville is arguably the hottest team in the land coming into the Big Dance. Not only did they win the regular season crown in the nation’s toughest conference (Big East), but they managed to also win their conference tournament. Their path to the Final Four is also the easiest. The 2nd (Michigan State), 3rd (Kansas), and 4th (Wake Forest) all faltered in their conference tournaments and haven’t been playing the best ball down the stretch. InNCAA Louisville Tennessee Basketballaddition to an easy schedule, Louisville plays stingy D and won’t beat themselves, they have coach Rick Pitino on their backs all tournament.

West: Memphis

   The only place, in my mind, that can produce a Final Four team that isn’t a number one seed. Memphis plays some of the best defense in the nation (56.9 points a game), although it could be argued that they haven’t been challenged much this season. Memphis is more experienced then its Final Four run from a year before. If they play UConn in the Elite Eight, big men Robert Dozier (F, senior) and Shawn Taggart (F, junior) can compete with UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet. But, I don’t think that will be an issue because UConn will lose before the Elite 8. If Memphis’ defense isn’t a hoax, and they do shutdown teams, they will make it to the Final Four. However, all of their games will be close and relatively low scoring.

East: Pittsburgh

   In the history of the University of Pittsburgh, the Panthers have never made it past the Elite Eight. This is their year! BEast Pittsburgh Louisville BasketballThey have a three headed monster in Sam Young (F, 18.7 ppg, 6.1 reb), DeJuan Blair (F, 15.6 ppg, 12.2 reb), and Levance Fields (G, 10.7 ppg, 7.6 ast) They have been tested all season in the Big East, having beat UConn TWICE. They also have a cake walk to the Final Four until they get to the Elite Eight where they will play either Duke or Villanova (who beat Pitt earlier this year.) I think Pitt is just too physical, too talented, and too athletic to be beaten by Duke and it is way to difficult to beat a team like Pitt twice in a season so Villanova wont get it done.

South: North Carolina

   The South bracket could be the most talented bracket, with UNC, Oklahoma, and ‘Cuse as the top three seeds. The also have some dangerous lower seeds in no. 12 Western Kentucky and no. 9 Butler. North Carolina may be the best coached team in the land with Roy Williams and have last year’s POY in Tyler Hansbrough. UNC needs to get G Ty Lawson back and healthy, but they won’t really need him until the Elite Eight. I don’t think Syracuse has enough gas left in their tank to make it to the Final Four and Oklahoma isn’t balanced enough to beat UNC. I would love to see a Hansbrough-Blake Griffin match-up, but Syracuse will be playing UNC in the Elite Eight. One thing that all teams should look out for: Hansbrough has never won a National Title, and when he focuses, no one can beat him.

NCAA Basketball Power Rankings – 2/18/09

1. Pittsburgh Panthers

   After a tough win AT Uconn, no one deserves to be in this spot more than Pitt. They proved that they have the talent to beat anyone, anywhere, and at anytime. In addition to that, they final gave Uconn big man Hasheem Thabeet a reason to shut up.

2. North Carolina Tar Heels

   The Heels still haven’t lost since 1/11 and traveled down Tobacco Road to beat Duke handedly in front of the Cameron Crazies. You might as well pencil them into your Final Four already. Their depth is still an issue though.

3. Oklahoma Sooners

   They aren’t exactly facing the same competition that the Tar Heels and Panthers are facing in the ACC and Big East, but the Sooners are still undefeated in conference play. Look out for that showdown at Mizzou on March 4th, Boomer Sooner.

4. Connecticut Huskies

   Even after a tough loss to Pitt, the Huskies are one of the best overall teams out there. Hasheem Thabeet may talk a big game, but he can back it up. I want to see him square off against Blake Griffin or Tyler Hansbrough before I name him the best big man in the nation.

5. Memphis Tigers

   Apart from a road win at Gonzaga, the Tigers have played NO ONE in 2009. I am still skeptical of how good this team really is. They are young. The tournament hasn’t always been nice to young teams.

6. Marquette Golden Eagles

   Marquette is a tough team that could make a run to the Final Four. They are 11-2 in the Big East and still have the best back court in the nation.

7. Michigan State Spartans

   They had a hard loss to a underrated Purdue team, but the Spartans are for real. They are one of the Top 5 best coached teams in the nation, even if their talent may not be Top 5.

8. Missouri Tigers

   I am reluctant to put my own school in the Top 10 yet, however they are the hottest team in basketball the past couple weeks. After a buzzer beater to beat Texas in Austin, the Tigers did the same against Kansas and then dominated Nebraska on their own court. They are exciting to watch and downright dangerous

9. Louisville Cardinals

   No one as really been talking about Louisville in a conference that has been dominated by Pitt and Uconn, but they are carving out a nice season with a 19-5 (10-2 in the Big East) record. Don’t think about that 33-point loss to Notre Dame, that’s old news.

10. Duke Blue Devils

   Duke is struggling lately in conference play, losing two ACC games since my last update. However, I cannot take them out of the Top 10 because they are as talented as anyone else and they have something no one else has: Coach K

My College Basketball Mid-Season All-American Team

1st Team

G: Stephen Curry, Davidson

   He leads the league in scoring (28.5 ppg) and plays outstanding against tough opponents (44 points against Oklahoma.) He is the best pure shooter in the nation and Davidson’s three losses aren’t his fault. In those three losses, Curry averages 29.6 points a game.

G: Levance Fields, Pittsburgh

   The current number one team in the land has the best point guard in the land. Fields is averaging 7.1 assists and chipping in 10.3 ppg. He is a very smart player that only turns the ball over 1.5 times a game. In fact, he is a big reason why Pitt is ranked number one.

Player of the Year? Vote Griffin.

Player of the Year? Vote Griffin.



F: Blake Griffin, Oklahoma

   Griffin is my mid season player of the year and is just dominating opponents. He averages a double-double with 22.4 ppg and 13.8 rebounds a game. This guy is a glass cleaner! He has had 20+ rebound games three times this season! If anyone wants to beat Oklahoma this year, stop this guy.

F: Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina

   North Carolina and, consequently, Tyler Hansbrough have fallen off the radar a bit after their two ACC losses. But, don’t count this guy out. Hansbrough is still the most passionate and toughest player in the NCAA and still is averaging 22.4 ppg. You know who he is, you know where he is, but he is still going to beat you.

C:  Hasheem Thabeet, Connecticut

   Thabeet is arguably the best pure center in the NCAA and has undoubtably the coolest name. Thabeet is averaging a double-double and is an anchor in the third ranked Huskies squad. Thabeet better be looking over his shoulder because Georgetown’s Greg Monroe is gaining on him at the center position.  

2nd Team

G: Jodie Meeks, Kentucky

G: Jeff Teague, Wake Forest

F: Luke Harangody, Notre Dame

F: Dejaun Blair, Pittsburgh

C: Greg Monroe, Georgetown