10 youthful questions for Daven Harmeling

ASKED LAST SUMMER about his returning veterans, WSU head basketball coach Tony Bennett talked up Kyle Weaver and the rest, but quickly added that he was excited about the return of a great team leader with a solid outside shot and big-time hustle. At the time, Daven Harmeling was mostly known as the poor guy who was injured in the first game of the 2005-06 campaign and missed the entire year.

Today, three weeks after the Cougs' titanic upset of Gonzaga, Daven Harmeling is known far and wide as the giant killer off the bench. He scorched the Zags for 20 points that night, including two clutch three-pointers down the stretch.

He subsequently was named Pac-10 Player of the Week. Last week, a few days before the Cougs improved their record to 11-1 with a nice win over San Diego State, the Colorado native took time to answer a few questions from me -- a 13-year-old Cougar fan -- as part of a weekly column aimed at asking WSU players the questions adults don't seem to think of asking.

CF.C: If you couldn't play college basketball, what other sport would you want to play?

The File On
Grand Junction, Colo.


Third-year sophomore

6-7, 216 pounds

Over Colorado State and others

Redshirted last season after separating a shoulder in season opener. As a true freshman in 2004-05 he saw action in 26 games ... scored 10 points off the bench in just 13 minutes against Montana State -- the most points by a true freshman in a Cougar opener since Mike Bush had 14 in 1998.

Has started five of the Cougars' 12 games, but is No. 3 on the team in minutes played. Averaging 8.5 points per game. Has connected on 14 of 38 three-point shots. No.4 on team in rebounds and assists.

Played three varsity seasons at Fruita Monument High. Captain as a junior and senior. Two-time all-league selection and first-team All-State as a senior, when he averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists and 2.5 blocks per game. Also named league player of the year, and nominated for McDonald's All-America.

Health and Fitness

Harmeling: I'd love to try to play football. I'd love to try to bulk up a little and try to play tight end. Right now, I am little too thin for it, but maybe if I stop playin' ball, maybe I could put on the extra weight I need.

CF.C: Your biography says you like to hunt. What do you hunt for and where do you go to hunt around Pullman? ?

Harmeling: I haven't done much hunting, really, in Washington. And when I do it's usually for pheasants. But back home in Colorado I love hunting for mule deer and elk in the Grand Mesa area.

CF.C: Last year you couldn't play because of your dislocated shoulder -- what was the hardest part about dealing with that injury?

Harmeling: I think the hardest part was watching the team lose a lot of close games and wondering if could have made a difference.

CF.C: Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan?

Harmeling: I'd have to say Jordan just because I think his work ethic and his desire to win is unparalleled, even to Magic.

CF.C: Which current NBA player would you pick to build a team around?

Harmeling: Either Dwight Howard or Lebron James. Lebron, just because he can do so many different things and Dwight Howard because I think he is probably the best young big man in the game right now -- he can just dominate games by the rebounds and blocking an altering shots. And his offensive game is really coming around.

CF.C: What is your favorite sports movie of all time?

Harmeling: Cinderella Man (starring Russell Crowe as boxer James Braddock) because it's just an underdog story and that's what we talk about on our team. We want to play like the underdog and come out not worrying about if people respect us or not, but going out and trying to beat the best even if we are not as talented our not expected to win.

CF.C: What was your first reaction when you where named Pac-10 Player of the Week following your big game against Gonzaga?

Harmeling: I was really surprised. I didn't really think I was deserving of it, but since I'm kind of a "no-name," when I had a couple of solid games, maybe people noticed. But, I don't know that I was deserving of it.

CF.C: Have you ever had bad games and gotten down on yourself?

Harmeling: During my freshman year (at WSU) I was up and down. You know, if I had a good game I would be really excited and then I would play a really bad game and it would bring me down to earth. There were just a lot of ups and downs.

CF.C: When you were younger, who really helped you develop your basketball skills?

Harmeling: There was a guy at my high school who was a couple of years older than me -- Erik Ryners. When I was a sophomore, he was a senior and he really took me under his wing and we just worked out all the time -- all summer long when other people were at parties, we would always just be working on our game. He really taught me what it meant to work hard.

CF.C: As a kid, what was your favorite basketball team?

Harmeling: I was always a fan of North Carolina ... when they had Vince Carter, Antwan Jamison, Shammond Williams, and all those guys. When I was in middle school/junior high, I loved those guys.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 13, is an eighth grader in Chelan, Wash., where he's a starting guard on his basketball team. His addiction to crimson and gray started four years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden has named his dog Butch, and currently is working to turn his little brother and mom into avid Coug fans.

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