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UMass Alum Stephane Lasme Earns Invite to Celtics' Training Camp

Andrew Bock@andrew_bockCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2010

Photo: Daylife.com
Photo: Daylife.com

Stephane Lasme may not be a household name in basketball circles outside the 413 area code, but he will soon get the chance to reestablish himself: the Boston Celtics invited the former UMass standout to this year’s upcoming training camp.

Lasme, the No. 7 all-time shot-blocker in NCAA history, comes to Celtics as a very long shot to break camp with the team, but if nothing else, he will make his teammates work hard on offense in practice to prepare them for the regular season.

As impressive as Lasme’s defense was in college, he has become an international journeyman since being drafted by Golden State in the second round of the 2007 NBA draft.  Stints in Golden State and Miami (5.5 PPG, 1.5 BPG) proved only moderately successful, and while Lasme's game did improve in Serbia and Israel (9.7 PPG, 1.5 BPG), that does not necessarily translate back into a proven US player.

Still, he is capable enough to play in the NBA, as his time late in 2008 with Miami has shown.  The only NBA player ever from Gabon lives and dies by his defense, which the Celtics have thrived off since the “Big Three” came to town, giving Lasme the chance to showcase what he does best.
   
His biggest camp obstacle to overcome is in the form of fellow Massachusetts alum Tony Gaffney.  Gaffney, another heralded college shot-blocker (third in the NCAA ’08-’09), has developed into more of a wing player of late, but can mimic Lasme’s game on the inside while adding more athleticism.  Plus, Gaffney spent valuable time on the Celtics' bench, watching the team maneuver through the playoffs last season, giving him a deserved edge.  

In reality, if the 27-year-old Lasme wants to make the team, he’ll need to do his best Lorenzo Williams impersonation, earning hustle points by stopping whoever he matches up with down on the box, but his contract is not guaranteed, making it 99-percent certain he will not be on the Opening Day roster.

It will be a long season for Stephane Lasme as he tries to make a return to the NBA, but he will be on teams' radars as the season wears on, eventually landing with a team in need of a talented defensive stopper.

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