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Xavier season in review: Elias Harden report card

Elias Harden may have more room to grow than he has time to do it after a nearly vacant freshman year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Nashville Practice
I wonder if he’ll end up as good as his brother.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Banners on the Parkway postseason player report cards. We’ll be breaking down each player’s grades for the rest of this week and on into next week and maybe the following, just depending on how time allows. We’ll also be assigning and explaining our own grades of each player. We’ll start with the player who got the lowest community ranking and work our way up to the MVP.

Elias Harden Votes % of votes
A 3 1.40%
B 5 2.40%
C 66 31.90%
D 77 37.20%
F 56 27.10%
Community GPA 1.09

Elias Harden outscored me by 12 this year. He came in with a reputation as a good shooter, but he was just 1-8 from behind the arc on the season. Obviously, it’s difficult to establish a rhythm when you’re not getting very many minutes, but the flip side of that is that he didn’t force his way onto the court, either. Coach Steele said that he thinks Harden can be an elite defensive player, so hopefully the bones of something really valuable are hiding under those long minutes on the bench.

Offense: incomplete

Defense: incomplete

Overall: incomplete

We usually break down each guy in each of the three above phases, but there’s really not a lot of data to use on Harden. It’s hard to project a ton of success for a guy who played just 101 minutes scattered over 17 games, almost all of it in garbage time. On the other hand, he’s a 6’5” guard with a good stroke who his coach thinks can defend at a very high level. James Farr played 42 minutes as a freshman and looked a lot like a ball of nothing during that time. By the time he was a senior, Xavier fans were wishing he had another year to stick around. That’s an outlier of an outcome, but it’s not a foregone conclusion that Elias Harden doesn’t yet have a role to play for the Muskies.