Thunder Selects Harden in NBA Draft

Not many mock drafts projected James Harden to be picked third in tonight's NBA draft. A last minute workout with Minnesota (who was picking 5th and 6th) only added to those speculations. Nonetheless, the Oklahoma City Thunder have had their eye on the former ASU guard for a while and backed it up by selecting Harden 3rd overall in the 2009 NBA draft.

Dressed in a champagne three-piece suit, James Harden bounced a fist pump off his chest when his name was called by NBA commissioner David Stern. It was a move that was a Harden trademark after a big play, and nothing was more monumental in his life than this moment.

Being selected third by the Oklahoma City Thunder may have caught some by surprise, but the ESPN crew at the Madison Square Garden theater approved of that selection, as well as the former Arizona State guard's purple bow tie.

There are some questions concerning Harden's skills, notably his mid-range jumper. Yet, the newest member of the Thunder told ESPN that he's not out to prove anything, just earn a spot on the squad and help out one of the most young and talented exciting teams in the league.

Harden is the second highest ever ASU section in the NBA draft, trailing just Joe Caldwell's 2nd overall selection in 1964. Harden represents the highest ASU player picked in the draft since Byron Scott was selected 4th overall in 1983.

Harden was ASU's first ever consensus first-team All-American selection. He was also named Pac-10 Player of the Year this past season. The guard is considered a solid all around player, and averaged 20.1 ppg 5.6 rpg and 4.2 apg in the 2008-09 season.

Harden acknowledged to ESPN that his beard may be shaved in a couple of weeks, signifying a new chapter in his life. So far, the next step in one of the all-time Sun Devil greats is off to a great start.

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