James Harden: Handful in Mix

Many people just assume that James Harden (Scout.com, No. 31) is all but a lock to follow his old high school coach at Artesia to Arizona State. However, the 6-foot-4 1/2 junior says that's not the case - although the Sun Devils are certainly right there in his top five.

The natural question for James Harden is whether or not he's a done deal to commit to Arizona State now that his former high school coach at Artesia High (Calif.) has joined the staff.

The 6-foot-4 ½, 200-pound junior shooting guard isn't ready to proclaim the Sun Devils as his leader just yet – although one thing he will divulge is that ASU's interest has stepped up since the hiring.

Harden (Scout.com. No. 31) was only able to make one day of the Pangos Camp this past weekend after his grandmother died earlier in the week.

However, he re-affirmed his status as one of the nation's top rising seniors with a solid performance on Sunday. Harden averaged 19.9 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists as a junior at Artesia and is finally starting to receive the recognition he was hoping for.

``I seriously asked myself that question," Harden said about why the national attention didn't find its way to him sooner. "But now it's finally here and I'm happy about it."

Harden is a guy who has few holes to his game and that's what makes him such a sough-after player in the Class of 2007.

He'll head to NBA Players Association Camp later this month and then to ABCD.

Harden said he was upset when he found out Scott Pera was leaving Artesia.

``I was real mad," Harden said. "But he talked to me and I know I've got to step up and be more of a leader now. Now's my chance."

Harden said style of play, academics and the coaching staff will all play into his decision of where he'll play his college ball.

Offers have already been put forth by Arizona State, Arizona and Washington. Harden said that Washington State and USC round out his top five.

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