SAN PABLO, Calif. -- As much as Elijah Hardy's jump shot has improved over the last year, even he couldn't deny that a full day of hoops -- from a 9 a.m. call for California's one-day skill camp to a 2 p.m. tip for the seventh annual NorCal Clash -- drained his legs. The 2018 three-star point guard went just 1-for-7 in the class of 2018's win over their 2017 counterparts, and in the process, sprained his ankle.
"I tried to go to the basket, and I think I stepped on somebody's foot, and that's what twisted it," Hardy said. "Yeah, I'm tired. My legs are dead. Probably why I couldn't get my jump shot to fall."
In Saturday's practice, though, Hardy showed off his range, hitting multiple three-pointers in five-on-five scrimmage action. But, what sets Hardy apart is not his shooting (although it's still a work in progress); it's his passing. From long outlet passes to bounce feeds in the low post, to kick outs, to behind-the-back, to behind-the-head, no-look dishes, Hardy has some of the best vision in Northern California, if not the state.He finished with six assists, officially, and could have had at least five more, were it not for the 2018 squad's 32-for-83 shooting day.
One of the consequences of being that kind of passer is that Hardy hasn't been very aggressive in creating his own shot and going to the rim. That's changed over the past year.
"In the summer, my shot was falling, but today, my legs were dead, coming off that long summer," Hardy said.
In the spring adidas Gauntlet Finale in South Carolina, Hardy shot 11-of-31 (35.5%) from the field in three games, and 31.6% (6-of-19) from three, averaging 3.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.
In the adidas Summer Championships in Las Vegas, Hardy shot 16-of-39 from the field (41.0%) and 7-of-15 (46.7%) from three, averaging 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
"Hopefully in the school year, I'll be knock-down," Hardy said.
The morning camp at Cal -- one of the first schools to offer Hardy -- was important for Hardy, not only to see former Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd teammate Ivan Rabb, but also to get some face time with the Bears' coaching staff.
"It was very important, because I don't get too much time with the coaches," Hardy said. "It was an important day to go up there and show my face, see all the other kids that aspire to come to Cal."
Hardy also chatted with former Bears point guard -- and second-round NBA Draft pick Tyrone Wallace.
"I was shooting, and I was making a couple shots, and he came over, and said I could shoot," Hardy said.
Hardy talks with the Cal staff frequently, he said. At the most, he talks with them twice a week.
"They want to see me become a better leader," Hardy said. "They want to see me know who I'm passing to, and be a leader on the court, off the court, on the ball, off the ball, just a leader, in general, and to just do my thing."
During the course of camp, head coach Cuonzo Martin talked to the campers about the difficulty of a school like UC Berkeley, and Hardy took note.
"No matter who you meet, always be nice to that person, because you never know who you're talking to -- coach Cuonzo was talking about a 16-year old with a Master's degree. 16. At Cal. That's big," Hardy said. "You never know who you could meet in this world ... That [speech] made me want to go there even more, because I've always been a person to be up for challenges. If it's hard, that's how I like it."