Hoops: Sooners in on 7-foot-2 center?

Houston, Texas center and Tanzania native Hasheem Thabeet talks about his journey to American, his visit plans and interest in Oklahoma.


JH: You have played so well in these first two big AAU Tournaments that all of a sudden every coach in college basketball wants to talk to you, don't they?

HT: "The way we started to play in those tournaments, I think caught everybody by surprise. Now we are one of the top teams around. For me, personally, I have played well and it has been very enjoyable for me."

JH: People knew about you earlier this year, but the last few months have been very hectic for you, right?

HT: "That has been a unique experience for me. The last four months have been so different for me and sometimes it is overwhelming. Sometimes I can't even think about it."

JH: How much have you improved this past year?

HT: "Oh man, I am so much better this year than last. I don't know how to compare it. I have spent a long time in the gym."

JH: When did you really start playing basketball?

HT: "Two years ago."

JH: Why is that? HT: "I am from Tanzania. I wasn't ever in a gym there and I was never on a team."

JH: Tell us how you got involved with basketball?

HT: "I started to play basketball a little bit a year before I came to the United States. I came to the United States so that I could get a better education. The basketball has been great for me as well because I am tall. Once I was here in the United States everybody kept telling me I should play basketball, and once I got started I really started to like it."

JH: Did you play any sports in Tanzania?

HT: "I played soccer since I was five years old. I like basketball much better now. I think it has come easy for me through hard work. It has been easy for me to understand and I haven't had any problems picking up the game."

JH: You have taken a visit to UConn, so what did you think about that visit?

HT: "It was cool. I went there and watched them play Louisville in the Big East Championship game. I like the players and coaches there."

JH: When will you take your next visit?

HT: "I am going to Cincinnati next weekend."

JH: Are you considering Oklahoma at all?

HT: "I have talked to Coach (Jeff) Capel at Oklahoma, and I like him a lot. When Coach (Kelvin) Sampson was at Oklahoma I was talking to him then. This recruiting gets confusing with all these coaches changing schools and players signing with a school and then leaving that school. Coach Sampson is still recruiting me at Indiana, and now Coach Capel is recruiting me at Oklahoma.

"I have so many more doors opening for me now and I am not sure what I want to do. I have two visits set and I can take five visits. I don't have any other visits set, but I am talking to several different schools."

JH: So you have not set visits to Louisville and Miami?

HT: "Yes, I will probably visits Louisville and Miami. But I am not totally sure."

JH: Will you visit Oklahoma?

HT: "I am thinking very hard about that. I would say it is 50-50 right now."

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