Thabeet Ditches UConn, Headed to NBA Draft

'I have had a great experience at Connecticut,' he said.

Standout basketball player Hasheem Thabeet has decided to leave UConn and enter his name in the 2009 NBA Draft.

“After spending time with my family and friends and speaking with Coach Calhoun, I have decided to give up my final year at UConn," Thabeet said in a statement issued by the school.

Head coach Jim 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.

Thabeet has been named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year and Co-Player of the Year in the past two season.  The school said he averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocked shots per game in the past season, contributing to the team's Final Four spot.

"He is a special player and even more special as a person," said Calhoun.  "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.”

Thabeet continued:  “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.”

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