How often does a high school basketball player get tips of the trade from a former NBA great? The answer is not very often... unless, of course, your father crossed over opponents on nightly with his "UTEP-2-step." For Tim Hardaway Jr., dad's knowledge and experience have been essential in helping his son clear many of the basketball hurdles that other youngsters stumble over..
"Playing wise, he tells me to play hard, don't let nobody push you around... to play as hard as you can." Hardaway Jr. said. "He tells me to get low on your dribble, play hard, strong defense... cover your man, always help your teammates out, and be sure to get them involved".
And when it comes to recruiting?
"He says don't get a high head,"Hardaway Jr. added, recalling his father's sage advice. "Don't let all of the recruiting get to you and everything will be alright. He tells me to keep my grades up and I could go to any college I want".
On the hardwood, Hardaway Jr. sees himself as an unselfish guard that isn't afraid to take a shot, but that also can distribute if need be.
"I shoot the ball," he said confidently. "I'm a real good shooter and I pass a lot. I like to get my teammates involved."
That's exactly what he and the University of Michigan's basketball program have in common. While it's true that Coach John Beilein has stockpiled guards since coming to Ann Arbor, he is still realistically looking for more guard/small forward types for the class of 2010. Stu Douglass, Zack Novak and Matt Vogrich all fill critical needs at that position, but with Manny Harris & Anthony Wright being seniors in 2010, UM must add adequate depth for the future.
"I plan on playing small forward and shooting guard (at the college level)". Hardaway noted. "Stuff I need to work on…getting low on my dribble more, playing better defense, getting lower/getting stronger. Basically, right now, what I'm working on is hitting that weight room and trying to develop more muscle so I can get people off of me."
With a 6-4 frame (and with plenty of room to grow) holding only 175 lbs., you better believe the Miami sharp shooter will do just that.
Hardaway is hearing the most right now from Miami (FL), Michigan and Virginia Tech with many other high majors showing interest. Michigan's Coach John Mahoney flew down to discuss what the Wolverines have to offer the young Florida baller.
"Their telling me it's a wonderful school," Hardaway said. "(They're also saying) it's a good environment to be around, kids there are great, the athletics are awesome, and I'd be a great fit for their tea"".
When it comes to taking visits, there are a number of schools vying for a spot to land a spot on his itinerary. At this point Michigan seems to be right in the thick of things.
While there is plenty of time for young Hardaway to decide on his final choice, it's a pretty good bet that Coach Beilein, Coach Mahoney and the rest of the UM staff will stay hot on the trail of this up and coming junior.