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News » Harden making an impression in practice

Harden making an impression in practice

Harden making an impression in practice Rookie James Harden was held out of last Wednesday's game against Miami in Tulsa and didn't like the feeling of sitting. But he understood.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks is toying with his rotation early to give players a fair shot while also using these exhibition games to evaluate everyone as adequately as possible. But Harden responded in a big way over the next few days, Brooks said, putting together his best two practices of the season Friday and Sunday.

"He came back really focused on improving. I like the fact that he did that," Brooks said.

Brooks said the No. 3 overall pick is steadily improving but has the same challenge as all players, picking up the game's faster pace in games and practices.

"I demand and I expect that they know it," Brooks said. "And I expect him to know all positions. But I think James is doing a good job of picking things up. He's a very cerebral player."

Harden attributed his recent practice performances to a new level of aggressiveness. He said he's spent time getting into optimum conditioning by eating more healthy meals and getting sufficient sleep.

"It's something that I have to do in order to be able to stick in this league," Harden said.


Brooks returned to Houston as a head coach for the first time Monday night. The former backup point guard on the Rockets' 1994 championship squad called the city a special place and the trip one that never gets old.

"Every day, I thank (Hakeem) Olajuwon for giving me an opportunity to sport a ring," Brooks joked. "I love what we did that year. The crowds and the fans here really supported us. It was fun times."

Brooks' best keepsake from that season, his championship ring, is collecting dust, however. He put it in a safety deposit box and estimated he hasn't seen it in 12 years. Brooks said he hasn't worn it since the summer of '94.

"I will wear it when I need a job," Brooks joked. "When I walk into the room to interview my handshake will be a little higher that day."

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 22, 2009


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