Some quotes from Hasheem Thabeet's press conference, after he was selected by Memphis with the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft:
"I'm happy and excited.I look forward to being part of the Grizzlies' organization."
On whether he had an inkling that Memphis would select him:
"I was surprised. (The Grizzlies) were calling my agent … I was waiting to hear what's going to happen. I ended up in Memphis, so I'm happy. I was going to be happy wherever I ended up. This is, for me, a great opportunity to go out there and play ball and have fun."
On his improvements from his freshman year at UConn to now:
"When I came here, I never thought, first of all, that I would be able to make it to Division I. I ended up at UConn, and when I got to UConn, I got to be coached by Jim Calhoun. He pushed me since day one ... I had to believe in myself that I can definitely do it. After my freshman year, I was young and I had to grow up and (Calhoun) prepared me mentally pretty well for me to believe in myself. He challenged me and I can challenge myself to be man enough to go out there and play ball, and I ended up believing in myself since my freshman year."
Thabeet considered leaving for the NBA after both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Calhoun told him leaving after his freshman year "is going to be the worst mistake in your life. I had to believe in him and trust him and told my family that I can wait a couple off years for me to be in the NBA … To me, this is a blessing."
Thabeet, who becomes the first Tanzanian ever selected in the NBA draft, was seated with his mother, Rukia Manka, who still lives in Tanzania. His father, Thabit Manka, passed away several years ago.
"The first five years (away from home), I didn't get to see my family … I used to speak to them on the phone every two or three weeks, and now they are here and get to experience this with me. I don't even know how to explain that. It's just a great feeling and I'm happy that (my mother) was there to experience it."
Still waiting to see if A.J. Price and/or Jeff Adrien get selected. Stay tuned ...
Labels: Hasheem Thabeet