No. 2 pick-turned-D-Leaguer Hasheem Thabeet ejected from Summer League game

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  • Hasheem Thabeet
    Hasheem Thabeet
    Tanzanian basketball player
Hasheem Thabeet's suiting up for D-League Select Team these days. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)
Hasheem Thabeet's suiting up for D-League Select Team these days. (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images)

It's been a long time since we've heard from Hasheem Thabeet. The 7-foot-3 former Connecticut standout and No. 2 pick in the 2009 NBA draft never quite panned out at the big-league level — that's about as charitable way as I can think of putting it — and hasn't suited up in an NBA game since May of 2014, after the Oklahoma City Thunder let Thabeet walk and no other suitors lined up to become the fifth team in six years to employ him.

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Undeterred, Thabeet spent the entire 2014-15 NBA season in the D-League, averaging 8.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.4 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game for the Grand Rapids Drive, the Detroit Pistons' D-League affiliate. Continuing his pursuit of an NBA return, the 28-year-old big man headed to Las Vegas Summer League with the D-League Select Team — a collection of players from 10 different D-League teams squaring off against NBA franchises' summer squads — hoping to turn some heads and get noticed.

This probably wasn't what he had in mind.

Yep — that's Thabeet getting the gate from the D-League Select's Sunday game against the Washington Wizards' summer side, making him the first player ejected from this year's festivities in Vegas.

So what went down? We turn to Adam Rubin of Wizards blog Truth About It for the blow-by-blow:

Thabeet, playing for the D-League team, was upset about a non-call and voiced his frustration in a very deep and raspy, Dikembe Mutombo-like voice. The ref quickly assessed a technical. Thabeet, undeterred, reiterated whatever he said to get the first technical. The ref paused for a second, reaching for his whistle and giving Thabeet a chance to be quiet, but he chirped again. Ejection. Thabeet raised his hand in disgust as he left the floor.

The problem is that the game was played in the Cox Pavilion, the high-school sized secondary gym at UNLV. Unlike a real NBA arena, the Cox Pavilion does not have a locker room. It’s just a make-shift area behind a curtain under the bleachers in the far corners of the gym. There’s no TV, no bathroom, no food, no trainers’ room—no nothing.

Evidently, the combination of the no-calls — which Thabeet was protesting despite his team heading to the line to shoot free throws — and the amenities led the Tanzanian giant to boil over:

That sounds like a frustrating end to a frustrating day; Thabeet logged just nine minutes in the Select team's win, scoring four points with three rebounds and two blocks before getting the boot. Unfortunately, you'd assume Thabeet — roundly considered one of the least successful lottery picks in recent memory, one in a long line of big-man busts whose individual failings get compounded by the success of the players selected after him (in this case, reigning MVP Stephen Curry, runner-up James Harden, and All-Stars DeMar DeRozan, Jrue Holiday and Jeff Teague, among others) — has become plenty familiar with such frustration.

On the plus side, Thabeet performed better in the first D-League Select game, scoring eight points with six rebounds and a block in 19 minutes of work in a loss to the Houston Rockets, one of his former employers. If he can skew closer to that type of performance and amplify it, perhaps he'll be able to convince a team short on size to take a flyer on him. If his most notable accomplishment this summer is getting ejected, though, some more chairs could be in for a tune-up.

Vine via Hoop District.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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