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June 21, 2009MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Hasheem Thabeet canceled a pre-draft workout with the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday citing a shoulder injury, but he also had plans to talk to other teams.
"Thabeet was a combination of he's had some shoulder situations and he wanted to talk to some other teams," Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace said of the 7-foot-3 center. "It's also what goes on this time of the year with guys showing, not showing, that type of thing. The gamesmanship of the draft."
Memphis officials have already met with Thabeet twice in preparation for Thursday's NBA draft. Wallace said he expects to meet Thabeet later this week, but probably not for a workout.
The Grizzlies had a scout at every single one of UConn's home games during the 2008-2009 season.
The draft's top-rated big man, Thabeet averaged 13.6 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.2 blocks - second in the nation - for the Huskies last season, when he was co-Big East player of the year.
A number of projections have him going to the Grizzlies with the No. 2 pick, others have Memphis taking Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio. The Los Angeles Clippers are expected to take Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin at No. 1.
The debate on Thabeet is that he is not an offensive presence, has only adequate rebounding numbers and may not be strong enough to battle in the post. But there also is the potential for continued improvement. The native of Tanzania did not start playing basketball until he was 15.
Sunday's cancellation does not affect the Grizzlies' consideration of Thabeet, although Wallace didn't reveal his draft plans.
"We go on what they do in their careers. That's the vast majority of your final grade," Wallace said. "The workout has very little to do with it. You're just covering yourself with the workout."
With Thabeet's cancellation, the Grizzlies watched Jordan Hill, the 6-10 forward-center out of Arizona, and Demar DeRozan, a guard-forward from USC, in individual workouts.
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