Rockets assign Hasheem Thabeet to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has assigned center Hasheem Thabeet to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley. Thabeet, who is the third Rockets player to be assigned to the Vipers this season, also averaged 13.8 points, 11.2 boards and 3.17 blocks in six games (four starts) with the NBA D-League Dakota Wizards in 2009-10.

“With one game in the next six nights, we wanted to take advantage of the break in the Rockets schedule to give Hasheem some extended playing time with the Vipers,” said Rockets Vice President of Player Personnel and RGV Vipers GM Gersson Rosas.  “Hasheem has been working with our Rockets coaching staff over the past few weeks, but this opportunity to get valuable game experience with Rio Grande Valley will help with his long-term development.”

Thabeet (7-3, 263, Connecticut), who was acquired by Houston from Memphis on Feb. 24, has played in two games with the Rockets since the trade. He averaged 1.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.33 blocks in 45 games with the Grizzlies this season and made his Rockets debut vs. New Jersey (2/26/11). Selected by Memphis with the second overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Thabeet stands as the first Tanzanian-born player to be drafted by and play for an NBA team. In 2009-10, Thabeet ranked second among rookies in blocks per game (1.31) and actually led the NBA in blocks per 48 minutes (4.84).

He finished his rookie campaign with averages of 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 13.0 minutes over 68 games (13 starts) in 2009-10. At Connecticut, Thabeet was named the 2009 Co-Big East Player of the Year along with Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair. He was also a two-time winner of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2008 and 2009.