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June 22, 2008

Hardin ready to wrap up travel, watch draft

MORE: Before They Were Stars: DeVon Hardin | Draft Diary Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI

DeVon Hardin can barely remember where he is, let alone what day it is. It's the nature of NBA pre-draft workouts.

In less than a week, Hardin a former California center has put himself on display for, in order, the Seattle SuperSonics, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

He said he watched the Boston Celtics win the NBA title on Tuesday night, but he couldn't remember for several minutes which city he was in when he saw it (turns out it was Houston or at least he's pretty sure it was Houston).

He spoke to Rivals.com for the sixth installment of his NBA draft diary from San Antonio, where he had just finished working out for the Spurs. He talked about his most recent workouts, which draft hopefuls he had run into this week, the NBA Finals, former Golden Bears teammate Ryan Anderson and his plans for Thursday night's draft.

How much of a whirlwind does this get to be?

"I'll tell you what, I've been so tired in-between workouts. This week I've looked outside to try to figure out where I am and what day it is. It is Friday, right? They've been tough, and I'm trying my best to bring energy and enthusiasm to the workouts. You can't let this get to you because I'm sure an 82-game season will wear you down.

"This week I ran into some guys (post players) that I hadn't seen that much Trent Plaisted (BYU), D.J. White (Indiana), Kentrell Gransberry (South Florida), Othello Hunter (Ohio State), Rob Kurz (Notre Dame), Roy Hibbert (Georgetown), Mickell Gladness (Alabama State)."

Who impressed you?

"I thought Roy Hibbert was pretty good. He's just so freakin' big. He's hard to stop when he gets close to the basket. He reminded me of the Lopezes (against whom Hardin faced off in the Pac-10 while the twins were at Stanford). Othello is athletic as usual. It was good to see him again. We were cool in Orlando (they were teammates at the pre-draft camp), but it wasn't like that in the workout. We went at each other."

Which team treated you the best?

"Everybody treats you well, but we had a little more time in Seattle. We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Really nice. Man, it was crazy. They took us out to a really nice dinner, and we got a chance to hang out.

"Right now, I have a couple of days off before I go to work out for Boston. Did I say Boston? I've already been there. I meant to say Detroit. My head is everywhere. I'm practically delirious.

"I'm going to hang out here for a couple of days 'til I go to Detroit. This afternoon I'm going to get a massage and relax and get ready for my final two workouts."

Did you get to talk to your friend and former Cal teammate Leon Powe (Hardin went to Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Boston courtesy of a ticket left by Powe) about the Celtics winning the title?

"No, I haven't. I texted him, but I've been busy and I'm sure he's been busy. I was in my hotel room going crazy watching him celebrate. I'm very proud of him."

Speaking of former teammates, have you talked to Golden Bears forward Ryan Anderson, who declared early for the draft and stayed in?

"I talked to Ryan last weekend at Golden State, before his decision to stay in. He was genuinely confused. He just didn't know. But he came up with the best decision for him and his family, and I wish the best for him.

"Funny story, but I got a message from Coach (Ben) Braun (Hardin's coach at Cal who was fired this offseason) while I was sitting in the airport in Houston. It was like a week or so old, but I had just seen it. So I gave him a call, and we talked for 10-15 minutes. Finally he says, 'Where are you?' I said, 'I'm in Houston.' He said, 'I'm in Houston.' I said, 'I'm at the airport.' He said, 'Which one?' I said, 'Houston Hobby.' He said, 'What gate?' I said, 'Gate 42.' He said, 'Me, too.' So I saw Coach Braun for the first time, man, since the day he got fired. It was good to see him. We were very cordial off the court. I gave him a big hug. It was good to hear about him beginning the new journey at Rice."

What are the big plans for the draft Thursday night?

"I'm going to have a little get-together in downtown Oakland with some friends and family. Actually a big get-together. It'll be a time to celebrate, no matter the outcome. I actually rented out a club called Maxwell's. It's a really nice club, too."

Is it casual or are you going all out?

"I got to come fresh. I got a suit made, and it's going to be clean. I haven't even tried it on yet. The suit right now is a gray suit, with kind of a peach-colored shirt with white cuffs and a white collar, cufflinks, the whole nine. I got some accessories that will knock some people out. I invited the entire Cal team. A couple of them will be out of town, but most of them will be there. Patrick Christopher is the guy on the Cal team nobody could out-dress, but I told him not this Thursday."

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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