There were quite a few NBA scouts in attendance at the XL Center in Hartford to see what Hasheem Thabeet would do against DeJuan Blair, one of the top big men in the Big East. It was no contest. Blair was tougher, more aggressive, shot better, grabbed rebounds and quite literally put Thabeet on the deck.
Blair finished with 22 points and 23 rebounds. He put Thabeet on the bench for almost half the game with foul trouble. Thabeet only finished with 2 blocks, 4 rebounds and 5 points. That the 7-foot-3 Thabeet was dominated by a stronger, more determined 6-foot-7 Blair had to be an eye-opener for the NBA scouts.
Thabeet has been looking like an unstoppable force in the pain for the past few weeks. He completely intimidated entire opposing teams from coming into the paint for fear of having their shot blocked. Coaches like Jim Boeheim were comparing him to Patrick Ewing. Well, Ewing was never abused the way Blair treated Thabeet.
Thabeet is still a big man, and as the cliche goes, you can't teach 7-foot-3. That said, if there was anyone suggesting that maybe Thabeet might get drafted among the first five picks, that should be finished. The NBA is littered with promising big men who were too offensively limited in college and never advanced that part of their game. A performance like this could be the sort of thing that sticks with scouts and general managers. Heck, a performance like this could potentially keep Thabeet at UConn for his senior season. A thought that should worry most of the Big East.
On the flip side, DeJuan Blair is only a sophomore and a couple mock drafts already had him going in the top-20 picks. Blair has continually raised his game when facing other top big-men. This can only help his stock and make the increase the chances of him going pro after this season.
DeJuan Blair May Have Cost Hasheem Thabeet Some Money originally appeared on NCAA Basketball FanHouse on Tue, 17 Feb 2009 03:33:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.