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No. 2 draft pick Thabeet assigned to D-League

Posted Feb 25 2010 11:56PM

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday assigned rookie center Hasheem Thabeet to the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League on Thursday.

A 7-foot-3 Thabeet, the second overall pick last year, averaged 2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 50 games. The former Connecticut player had a career-best 10 points on Jan. 2 at Phoenix.

Thabeet was viewed as a player that needed development, but because of his rare combination of size and athleticism he was taken ahead players such as Tyreke Evans, who played at the University of Memphis, Stephen Curry and James Harden.

The Grizzlies have been recently using Hamed Haddadi, a second-year player from Iran, as the primary backup to starting center Marc Gasol.

The 23-year-old Thabeet will be the highest drafted player to play in the NBA's minor league. Portland's Martell Webster, the No. 6 pick in the 2005 draft, held that distinction. He played eight games for the Fort Worth Flyers in the D-League in 2005-06.

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