The Wait is Over–Harden Verbals to Sun Devils

Some called it the worst kept secret in the basketball recruiting circles of the western region. James Harden has been favoring ASU for a while, and his verbal commitment was always supposed to be a matter of when not if. It may have taken longer than expected, but the Sun Devil nation can now breathe a sigh of relief following the guard's commitment to Arizona State on Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-5 185 James Harden had many reasons to attend Arizona State. His grandparents already live here in Metropolitan Phoenix and his mother has been planning for months to join them. Couple that with the hiring of his former Artesia high school coach Scott Pera, as the Director of Operations for Sun Devil basketball, and the signing of good friend and former Artesia teammate Derek Glasser, and Harden had more than enough incentive to commit to ASU.

"I guess it was meant to be for me to come to ASU," he told Devils Digest. "I thought I was gonna make a decision in the summer, but it just got too busy with the (AAU) tournaments. It was real crazy traveling all the time. I knew I wanted to come there, but I just wanted to talk it over with my mom, and I really didn't get a chance to do that until now."

ASU's archrival Arizona was courting Harden heavily, but in an ironic twist of fate he snubbed the Wildcats at the last moment and decided to cancel his trip to Tucson while visiting the Sun Devils unofficially. But that's not the only Pac-10 foe head coach Herb Sendek and his staff had to contend with. Conference powerhouses UCLA and Washington were also vying for Harden's services. Thus, how serious was he to considering these two schools?

"I was real close to visiting Washington," admitted Harden. "The thing was that if I was going to visit there it would only be next month (due to the fact that it was gonna be an official visit that took place after Harden's school was in session). I didn't want to wait that long…UCLA just came in very late and I wasn't that interested in them when they started recruiting me."

It's no secret that there has been much excitement in Tempe following the arrival of Herb Sendek, and that fact hardly went unnoticed by ASU's first commit of the 2007 class. "I liked what Coach Sendek did at North Carolina State," commented Harden. "I like their style of play and I know he's gonna turn around things at ASU and I want to be a part of that. I'm not coming there just because my mom, Coach Pera or Derek. ASU always told me I'm their main guy they're recruiting and it wasn't like that with the other schools. That's why I knew I wanted to go there and be part of something exciting."

Excitement…what an understatement to describe the mood in Sun Devil country right now…

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