A mystery

I see that ESPN.com’s Chad Ford now has Cal center DeVon Hardin projected to go late in the first round to Detroit in his latest mock draft. I’d be surprised if that actually happens. Actually, not so much surprised but in disagreement with it.

Hardin clearly has the combination of size, strength and athleticism that NBA scouts drool over, but his game still needs a lot of work. A lot of NBA teams don’t worry about that — they believe as long a a player has the measurables and potential, they can turn him into a legitimate pro. But as athletically gifted as Hardin is, he is yet to demonstrate any consistency on the collegiate level. If I were an NBA general manager, I’d like to at least see Hardin show he can consistently score, stay out of foul trouble and make good decisions throughout one full college season.

I think Hardin will get it, eventually. He’s an incredibly bright kid off the court. So far, that hasn’t translated to a high basketball IQ or good feel for the game. Assuming he returns to Cal for his senior season, he should be able to excel with all the help he will get inside from Ryan Anderson, Jordan Wilkes and Jamaal Boykin. A strong showing next season and he could legitimately be a lottery pick in 2008.

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.