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May 9, 2008
What he doesn't have are the through-the-roof college numbers of most other potential first-round draft picks.
Hardin averaged just 9.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season as the Golden Bears went 16-15. They made the NIT and won their first-round game before being eliminated by Ohio State.
The senior's numbers, though, are somewhat deceiving. He shot a career-high 55.4 percent, he just didn't shoot that much. He took eight or more shots in a game only nine times. In those games he averaged 14.8 points.
Hardin tested the NBA Draft waters after his injury-shortened junior season. He had played in only 12 games before surgery for a stress fracture in his left foot in December sidelined him for the rest of the season.
He didn't hire an agent, but most of the feedback was positive. Hardin had a chance to be a first-round pick, but he, his father and then-coach Ben Braun decided he should return for his final season in Berkeley.
With his eligibility used up, he's in the draft to stay. You'll find him in almost every mock draft - some in the first round, some in the second round.
In the first installment of Hardin's NBA Draft Diary for Rivals.com, Hardin talks with Rivals.com Basketball Editor Bob McClellan about picking an agent and his current preparations for the June 26 draft:
Tell me about the process of picking an agent. What were you looking for?
It's easier this year than last year because I went through it a lot last year. You're looking for somebody who will be there to promote you and have your back, to guide you through this process. A lot of it is confusing. You don't really know what's going on all the time and you want someone who has that experience.
You look at their client list, too. It was good for me to see the reputation, the work that's been done already. I chose Williams & Connolly (the Washington, D.C., law firm represents Tim Duncan, Ray Allen, Grant Hill and 2007 first-round pick Brandan Wright, among others), and my agents are Lon Babby and Jim Tanner. Williams & Connolly clients are very successful on and off the court. They have a reputation for success, and pretty much anywhere you go everybody says they're great guys. I had conversations with them last year, too.
I've seen you as high as 21 and as low as 44 in the mock drafts I've looked at. Do you look at them? Are there ones you pay closer attention to?
I don't pay attention to those because they don't mean anything to me. The way I judge is how well I'm doing and feedback from general managers and coaches. They were high on me last season and I'm hoping to make the same impression this year.
Are you nervous already about the draft or will you not get nervous till later?
I'm used to the nerves now, so it's normal. You try not to let stress you out. If you think about the draft and where you might go day in and day out it will drive you crazy. If you work hard and do what you do, it will happen.
What are you doing right now to get ready? Where are you working out, and what are you working on?
I'm here in D.C. I have an NBA trainer (Idan Ravin) and a strength and conditioning coach (Alan Stein). I've got pretty much two-a-days, and they're killing me. I'm working out with James Gist of Maryland and Joey Dorsey of Memphis.
We do a ton of conditioning. They said we have to get used to the pace of the NBA game. We're getting in NBA shape. Man, the big difference from college to NBA is there's a lot of wasted movement in college. They want us to make quick, aggressive moves. In the college game it's a lot more dribbling and setting up for the moves. In the NBA you get it and go. My body is hurting right now. But I know this is all going to help.
What do you like to do to pass the time when you're not working out?
I'm fixing to go back to the house and go to sleep. I have an apartment out here. We're working so hard you don't really want to do anything else besides get your rest.
The funny thing is when you meet these guys like James and Joey ? I mean, we're here working out and I've never seen either of them before in my life but you immediately stick together. You have to encourage each other because it's hard to get through this stuff.
Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.