Grizzlies recall Thabeet from D-League

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies recalled rookie center Hasheem Thabeet from the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League on Monday after less than two weeks in the minors.

The 7-foot-3 Thabeet was sent to the D-League on Feb. 25. He averaged 13.8 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.17 blocks in six games with Dakota.

"I was on the bench for a long time," Thabeet said of his lack of playing time before being sent to Dakota. "I got to go out there and play big minutes [with the Wizards], try to work on the stuff the coaches wanted me to do -- rebound the ball, block shots, and be able to score when you get the ball. To stay active overall. I was successful doing that."

Thabeet, the second overall pick last year out of Connecticut, had averaged 2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 50 games for the Grizzlies.

The 23-year-old is the highest drafted player to play in the NBA's minor league. The purpose was to give him minutes, provide competition and build his confidence. He did not play in three of Memphis' five games before being sent to Dakota, and had not played more than 10 minutes since seeing 14 minutes of action on Feb. 5 against Houston.

"They gave me a reason why I was going up there," Thabeet said, "so it wasn't as tough as a lot of people were expecting. They explained to me why I was going there, and I was OK with it."

With the Wizards, he started four of six games and had a career-high 19 points Feb. 28 at Fort Wayne and a personal-best 18 rebounds March 5 at Tulsa. The Wizards were 5-1 during his stay.

"He went down and played well," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "He was a huge factor for them. The one game he fouled out, they lost in the end. They're not 5-1, if he's not blocking shots and rebounding the way he was, and even scoring."

The Wizards' schedule contributed to Thabeet's return. Dakota doesn't play again until Sunday.

"That would have been a week for him to do nothing," Hollins said. "It didn't serve any purpose with him not being able to play."