2006 Focus: Joe Harden

Joe Harden played for a low-profile club team, but college coaches are well aware of the talented wing from the class of 2006...

Joe Harden, 6-5 JR SG/SG Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's, didn't get seen by many national analysts last summer, but he has a chance to be a sleeper in the class of 2006.

Harden's best attribute is his feel for the game. Watch him for a few plays and it's obvious that he's thinking the game at a different level than most high school players. He's got a solid shot to 17-19 feet and he's an excellent passer.

We spoke with Harden last night and asked about the schools showing early interest in him.

"Oregon, Kansas and Gonzaga have all been to open gym at my school," said Harden. "I went to USC for the Cal game and Henry Bibby said they'd offer me a scholarship. UC Davis has offered. Arkanasas and Arizona have been calling my coach. Valparaiso, Pacific, St. Mary's and Oklahoma State have all been sending mail."

Harden said geography won't play a role in his choice. "I'll go wherever I can play," Harden said.

We asked him about the factors that would influence his decision and Harden replied, "My Mom's an educator, so academics will play a big role. The I'll look at the atmosphere and tradition, the staff and who my teammates would be."

When questioned about childhood favorites, Harden replied, "I always liked Stanford and Notre Dame."

Since he's an outstanding student -- 4.0 GPA -- we asked Harden about interest from Stanford. "I've been getting letters from them and I was at their campus playing in an open gym last summer. I'me very interested in Stanford."

Harden said he hasn't given any thought to when he might make a decision. "There is no timeframe right now," Harden said.

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