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June 25, 2009

James Harden


Q. You could have been a lottery pick last year, as well, so talk about your thought process last year and now going into the draft, and the fact that you made the right choice this year?
JAMES HARDEN: Well, I thought that if I wasn't ready last year, there were so many things I needed to improve on; just maturing, just becoming a better basketball player and to become a better person, as well, off the court. So I think I made the right decision to come back after my sophomore year. I learned so much more and now I'm here finally.

Q. That bow tie is incredible. Did you do it yourself?
JAMES HARDEN: No. I tried so many times, it wasn't working, so I had my stylist come up to me to give me a lesson to help me do it.

Q. How do you feel about going to Oklahoma City, a very exciting young team, great management, when did they reach out to you and when did you know they were interested?
JAMES HARDEN: I had a pretty good workout there. We spent a lot of time there getting to know one another as far as the head coach and general manager, the whole organization. They have a great young core over there, Russell and Kevin, a few other players I have to go in there with the mind-set of having to work to earn a position on the team.

Q. How does your game fit into the NBA, your strengths?
JAMES HARDEN: I think I can create my own shots and I definitely like to create for others, as you've seen at Arizona State. Just having the floor open and playing along with other great players, it makes the game that much easier.

Q. Did you feel follow the reports during the workouts, there were some reports that came out that people were kind of down on you; did you listen to any of that?
JAMES HARDEN: No. I think I had a lot of -- I had five workouts and I think all of my workouts have been pretty good. Some I shot the ball better than others but for the most part I handled myself well. Just tried to go in and do my best.

Q. What do you feel the difference will be playing at the professional level?
JAMES HARDEN: Arizona State, there's a lot more going on. But it helps me focus in Oklahoma. You're going to have to focus and know that this is a business and I have to be ready. Because as fast as I got here, I can be out the same.
So like I said, having to go in and work and compete.

Q. Following up to what he just said, it is a business, and it's quite an honor to be the third pick in the NBA Draft but there's no endorsement deals in Oklahoma City. Is that something that bothers you?
JAMES HARDEN: No. If you're winning, then all that stuff comes. That's not my mindset. My mindset is to go in there and work and try to get better every single day and help those guys.

Q. Did you talk to Blake about life in Oklahoma?
JAMES HARDEN: I told him we should switch, he should go to Oklahoma and I should go to L.A. and everything would be great. (Laughter) Obviously it doesn't work that way.

Q. Your game is very refined, so do you think that will help you get instant success and be able to make a contribution?
JAMES HARDEN: Definitely. It helps just going to the hole to look for a foul or shooting three-pointers, it helps me a lot. Last two and a half months I've been working on that and I have a lot of confidence in it now and a lot more to go. A lot more work has to be put into it, but that's another aspect of our game that improves and I still have a lot more to go.

End of FastScripts

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