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May 23, 2008

Draft Diary III: Cal center DeVon Hardin

MORE: Before They Were Stars: DeVon Hardin | Draft Diary Part I | Draft Diary Part II

DeVon Hardin got his invitation to the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando on Wednesday.

Hardin, a former California center, is eager to play in front of coaches and executives and try to solidify himself as a first-round pick. He says his private workouts have been going well, but he wants to see some new competition.

At least two post-draft lottery mock drafts list Hardin as a first-round pick. Coincidentally, both DraftExpress.com and Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News list him going to the Boston Celtics with the last pick of the first round, No. 30 overall.

In last week's diary installment, Hardin told Rivals.com he would be participating in a "5-on-5 run" on Sunday that he expected would feature such players as Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley and Ty Lawson. In this week's installment, he talks about his Orlando invitation, the rumors about the Celtics and why he didn't make the Sunday run with Rivals.com basketball editor Bob McClellan.

How was the Sunday run?

"I didn't go. I was beat on Sunday. We had a tough workout on Sunday morning and my body was done after that. I was just thinking, 'Man, I don't want to go out there and embarrass myself right now.' We went hard Sunday morning.

"I think I had a pretty good week. We have these one-on-one drills and we keep score of games to five. My goal leaving out of there every day is to make sure I win the most games. It's a subtle victory, but it's the only competition I have right now."

There now are two post-lottery mock drafts that have you in the first round, and coincidentally both of them have you going to the Celtics with the last pick of the first round. Are you hearing anything out of Boston?

"I don't know what to say to that. I haven't talked to anybody from the Celtics. They have been in contact with my agent, but a bunch of other teams have been, too. That will all be determined on private workouts and in Orlando.

"I feel like any situation any situation right now can be beneficial. You have to look at it that way. If I went to the Celtics with all of those guys they have, those veterans, I wouldn't get much playing time but I'd be gaining experience in practice. Or I could go to a situation where I might get more playing time and get my experience that way."

Are you watching the NBA playoffs?

"I try to watch, but it's hard dealing with the time difference (Hardin is a California native). It's late out here. The Lakers-Spurs game didn't end 'til like 11:45 here (Hardin is working out in the Washington, D.C., area). I fall asleep watching it, then I catch the highlights on SportsCenter in the morning.

"My favorite team growing up was the Nets. I really enjoyed Jason Kidd and his play. I've always been a Nets fan. I used to like the Nets' colors. I've gone kind of back and forth. My favorite team also was whatever team Shaq was on. First the Lakers, then the Heat. I've always admired Shaq and how he played. I looked up to him. I hope he's around a couple more years."

Did you get your invitation to Orlando?

"I got it yesterday (Wednesday). I actually thought I was already going. I wasn't sweating it, but maybe I should have been. I leave for Orlando on Monday morning. I'm definitely going to play there. I'm looking forward to getting on the court."

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

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