James Harden is about to be itched in Arizona State Basketball lore.
The former Sun Devils guard will his no. 13 retired in a ceremony on Wednesday night when ASU takes on the UCLA Bruins from Wells Fargo Arena. Harden joins Eddie House, Joe Caldwell, Byron Scott, Lionel Hollins and Fat Lever as the only Sun Devils to have their jersey retired above Ned Wulk Court.
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During his two years in Tempe, Harden took the ASU program to new heights. Over that stretch, the Sun Devils went 46-23, which included a perfect 5-0 record over Arizona and a second round appearance in the NCAA Tournament during the 2008-2009 season.
Harden averaged 19.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 69 games at ASU. After deciding to leave Tempe after his sophomore season, he was selected third overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2009 draft and is now a member of the Houston Rockets.
Things haven’t been quite the same for ASU since Harden left. Since his star guard went to the pros, Herb Sendek’s Sun Devils have only managed only one NCAA Tournament appearance and two seasons with a record under the .500 mark over the past 5+ seasons.
“The Beard” as he is now called reflected on his time at ASU when his Rockets were in Phoenix to play the Suns last week.
"“The whole college experience was definitely life-changing. It helped me mature from a teenager to a man,” he said. “The first year was kind of a whirlwind. The second year was kind of me settling in and kind of just knowing what to expect and just all about handling my business.“It was a great two years.”"
It was really was a shame that it wasn’t longer because it was a great ride. He brought the ASU program to some relevance, even if it were just for a short time frame.
Now, Sun Devils fans can enjoy watching Harden play at a MVP caliber level with his Rockets.