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UConn losing 7-foot-3 defensive expert Thabeet to NBA draft



HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet will give up his final year of college eligibility and enter the NBA draft.

The 7-foot-3 center from Tanzania said Tuesday that he made the decision after speaking to family, friends and coach Jim Calhoun.

“I have had a great experience at Connecticut and cannot thank my coaches and teammates enough,” Thabeet said in a statement released by the school. “I look forward to the challenge of playing professionally and know that my time here at UConn has prepared me to be successful in the future.”

Calhoun called Thabeet “one of the most dominant defensive players in the history of college basketball,” and said he believes he is ready to make the move to the NBA.

“He is a special player and even more special as a person,” Calhoun said. “He will truly be remembered as one of the great players in UConn history, not only for his accomplishments, but also because of the type of person he is.”

Thabeet, the Big East co-Player of the Year with Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair, averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocked shots per game in helping the Huskies to a 31-5 record and a Final Four berth.

He becomes the 11th player from Connecticut to declare early for the NBA draft. Nine of the others were picked in the first round, and eight of those were lottery selections.

Tucker going to NBA

CHICAGO – DePaul scoring leader Dar Tucker plans to enter the NBA draft and hire an agent.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard averaged 18.5 points and five rebounds this past season, when DePaul went 0-18 in the Big East regular season before beating Cincinnati in the first round of the conference tournament.

In 61 games over his two seasons, Tucker averaged 16.2 points. His 986 points rank third in DePaul history for freshmen and sophomores behind Mark Aguirre and Quentin Richardson.

Anderson signs deal

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mike Anderson has signed a seven-year deal to remain Missouri’s men’s basketball coach.

The third-year coach, who led the Tigers to a school-record 31 wins and snapped a five-year NCAA Tournament drought that ended just short of the Final Four, signed the new contract along with university officials Monday. The school released copies Tuesday.

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