Monday, February 16, 2009

Guest Contributor Ray Floriani: SHU -- UConn & Thabeet

by Ray Floriani

NEWARK, NJ- Valentine’s Day at the Rock and a number of observers, NBA scouts primarily, had appreciable love for the game of Hasheem Thabeet. The UConn center narrowly missed a triple double as he scored 25 points, pulled down 20 rebounds and rejected 9 shots. The 7’3" Thabeet was a difference maker in a 62-54 victory over Seton Hall. The numbers:


Thabeet’s block total probably was greater. He was credited for three at the half and courtside ‘neighbors’ Len Robbins of the Post and Dick Weiss (was yours truly in great company?) had Thabeet for more than four. Statisticians though, like officials, players and coaches do make mistakes. What the numbers can’t tell us is the number of shots Thabeet altered and the times Hall players rushed shots because they heard ’footsteps’ and thought he was nearby.

The efficiency numbers of Thabeet and his Seton Hall counterpart John Garcia, who did a great job (22 points 13 boards) on his end , were outstanding.


Efficiency over 100 is truly outstanding.

Jeremy Hazell struggled through a 14 point (5 of 22 shooting) afternoon. Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez said Hazell missed the prior two days of practice with a stiff neck. Gonzalez also emphasized the UCONN defense, not injury, was the main reason for Hazell’s tough afternoon.

During a media time out, I decided to calculate the percentage of two point shots rejected by the Huskies, in conference play, entering the Hall game.


* Thabeet had 54 of those blocks over the 12 Big East games prior to Saturday.

"The difference in the game was there were nine players and one Hasheem. You don’t always see a performance like that." - UCONN coach Jim Calhoun

"I’m not pushing him out the door but if I’m an NBA team he’s (Thabeet) the first pick in the draft...He’s like the liquid man from Terminator. You can’t kill him. I’ve never seen anybody like him. He changes the game, alters the game, dominates the game." - Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez

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