Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thabeet, My Top 25

Sandwiched UConn's bouts with Rutgers on Saturday and West Virginia tonight with a visit to the IZOD Center to talk to Hasheem Thabeet for a feature story.

Must admit, as chronicled in the story, the big guy doesn't seem too happy with Memphis. That'll happen when you're playing time is down to single digits and you're part of a rumored trade (with O.J. Mayo to Golden State for Monta Ellis) less than 50games into your rookie season.

Hash hardly dignified himself on Sunday, with two fouls and a turnover in 59 seconds of action. I left soon after (I had talked to everyone I needed to prior to the game and finished my story by halftime. Would you watch any more of a Nets game than you absolutely had to?).

Anyway, here's a few more notes 'n quotes that didn't make the story:

***Thabeet and teammate Rudy Gay planned to head about 20 minutes down the road to UConn's game at Rutgers on Saturday, but the Grizzlies plane didn't get in until about 6 p.m. -- just as the Huskies' game was ending. Thabeet said he still went down to Piscataway to see his former coaches and teammates before they boarded the bus back to Storrs.

***Thabeet, Rudy Gay and Marcus Williams -- all Grizzlies teammates -- were concerned about Jim Calhoun's recent medical leave of absence. Thabeet and Williams tried to contact him, to no avail.

"I knew everybody was at him, so I kind of gave him his space," said Gay. "This summer, I'll sit down and talk to him."

"He's a tough man," Thabeet said of Calhoun.

***Thabeet suffered a fracture alignment in his jaw on Nov. 10 but missed just one game.

***Williams on the UConn bond inside the Grizzlies' locker room: "We've kind of got used to it. We've got a lot of haters in the locker room. UConn's been losing a little bit lately, so of course we're hearing it from everybody: 'UConn lost, you're not that good, you're sorry this year.' We take pride in being alumni of Connecticut."

***Gay and Williams on the Huskies' chances this season.

Gay: "We've had some really good wins, and some tough losses. They're on the right track. It's been tough this year, up and down, with coach being out. But coach is a great coach, and he's going to get it back."

Williams: "They need some big wins, and they need to get far in the Big East tournament if they want anything to happen."

***Thabeet's advice to Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson and Gavin Edwards, who all hope to be in "the league" next season.

"I told them it's a lot of hard work. It looks like it's easy, because everybody's good. But it's all a lot of hard work."

***Williams said he's down eight pounds, from 215 to 207, this season after a summer devoted to getting into better shape.

Oh, and here's the Top 25 I submitted late last night:

1. Kansas
2. Kentucky
3. Syracuse
4. Purdue
5. Kansas State
6. Duke
7. West Virginia
8. Villanova
9. New Mexico
10. Ohio State
11. Brigham Young
12. Michigan State
13. Gonzaga
14. Wisconsin
15. Butler
16. Georgetown
17. Texas
18. Vanderbilt
19. Tennessee
20. Temple
21. Texas A&M
22. UTEP
23. Pittsburgh
24. Richmond
25. Virginia Tech

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