Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
June 25, 2009UConn had its first players selected in the NBA Draft in three years when center Hasheem Thabeet was taken No. 2 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night and guard A.J. Price went in the second round, No. 52 overall, to the Indiana Pacers.
The 7-foot-3 Thabeet was only the second player from UConn selected No. 2 after Emeka Okafor was chosen by Charlotte in 2004. He is also the 10th player selected in the first round of the NBA Draft since 1999 and the eighth lottery pick.
"I was going to be happy wherever I ended up," Thabeet told reporters in New York shortly after the selection was announced. "This is, for me, a great opportunity to go out there and play ball and have fun."
The Grizzlies were heavily linked to Thabeet for the past several weeks, though the center said the selection was a surprise. Guard Ricky Rubio of Spain figured to be Thabeet's main competition for the No. 2 spot.
"We've gone back and forth, up and down," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal. "And then you start taking straw votes, who likes who. We've had multiple players at that pick. But we keep watching film, keep seeing the kid's athleticism, his instincts to block shots, rebound."
Thabeet figures to play heavy minutes early for a Memphis team that finished amongst the worst in the NBA last season at 24-58. The Grizzlies, who also have former UConn player Rudy Gay, will be able to afford Thabeet quality minutes off the bench behind Marc Gasol after the subsequent trade of backup center Darko Milicic.
Price, who is not guaranteed a contract as a second-round pick, will likely have to earn a spot on the team behind point guards Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford.
The Huskies set a modern NBA Draft record when they had five players selected in the two rounds in 2006.
Notre Dame NEWS