Connecticut junior Hasheem Thabeet will enter the NBA Draft, the school announced Tuesday afternoon.
"After spending time with my family and friends and speaking with Coach (Jim) Calhoun, I have decided to give up my final year at UConn and enter my name in the 2009 NBA Draft,” Thabeet said via a statement. "I have had a great experience at Connecticut and cannot thank my coaches and teammates enough. I look forward to the challenge of playing professionally and know that my time here at UConn has prepared me to be successful in the future. I also want to thank all of the fans in Husky Nation that have followed my career, especially those from my homeland of Tanzania, and hope they will all be as supportive of me at the professional level as they have been to this point.”
Thabeet averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks this season.
The 7-foot-3 center is a projected top five pick.
“Hasheem is more than ready to make the move to the next level,” Calhoun said. “He has been one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of college basketball and I am certain that where ever he ends up in the NBA, he is ready to be equally successful. He is a special player and even more special as a person. He will truly be remembered as one of the great players in UConn history, not only for his accomplishments, but also because of the type of person he is.”
(NOTE: This should come as no surprise given Thabeet's weekend in Miami, as I wrote about here in this very blog ).