Thabeet Nearing Decision

Hasheem Thabeet wasn't very good when he first arrived at Cypress Community Christian (Texas). In fact, coach Mark McClanahan admits he was bad. The big 7-foot-2 native of Tanzania has worked and watched his game grow and his recruitment has also blown up.

Hasheem Thabeet doesn't play like someone who's still making the acclimation to the American game.

The 7-foot-2, 260-pound native of Tanzania came over to the United States less than a year ago. It took him a while, but he's become one of the most sought-after players in the country – especially with the lack of available big men in the spring.

``He's 100 percent better – literally," Cypress Community Christian (Texas) coach Mark McClanahan said. "He wasn't very good at all when he got here. In fact, he was pretty bad. He didn't know anything, but he's done a great job."

``He has all the skills," added McClanahan. "Great hands, good footwork. He just had to learn by playing. He has great work ethic and loves to play."

Thabeet had only played basketball for two years when he arrived in Houston. Like many kids in his homeland, he grew up playing soccer.

Thabeet runs the court extremely well for someone his size. He's also capable of scoring in the low-post, although he still needs to work on a go-to move. Part of the problem is that when he gets the ball in the paint, the easiest thing for him to do is just dunk over his defender.

Thabeet's biggest asset, though, is his ability to rebound and block shots. He also sets himself apart from many foreign players because he has a mean streak in him that often comes out on the court.

While his English is impressive, Thabeet still needs to pull up his test score in order to become eligible as a freshman.

``I'm looking to go somewhere that I can go right in and start as a freshman," Thabeet said. "I don't want to go in and redshirt. I'm going to look at who else the schools have coming in at my position and see who they already have."

``That's the big thing for him," McClanahan said. "Playing right away is the best thing for him because he won't do well sitting."

Thabeet said he's getting closer to making a decision. The schools he rattled off include UConn, Cincinnati, Texas and Miami. McClanahan added Louisville to that list. Thabeet took a visit to UConn in February and is scheduled to go to Cincinnati this weekend.

``People who saw me when I first came to the United States don ‘t even recognize me now," Thabeet said. "I've gotten a lot better and it's because of the work I've put in the gym."

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