Updated: Apr 1
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Jaden Hardy, from Detroit, Michigan:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit more about your background. Where did you grow up?
Jaden Hardy: Originally I’m from Detroit, Michigan and I moved to Vegas about three years ago when I first started high school. My brother plays for UNLV so that played a big part with me moving out here. Me and my dad moved out here, so for me to be able to go to his games and watch him and for him to be able to come to my games and watch me, we both support each other.
PI: How do you compare Detroit with Vegas?
JH: I like living in Vegas...it was a real big adjustment at first, though. At first, I really didn’t like it but as I’ve started to get more comfortable it’s started to feel like home. The style of play is real different out here, though.
PI: How so? Which style do you prefer?
JH: I think it’s more uptempo...like fast...while back home it’s more gritty, more physical. I like getting up and down, but I also like the style of play back home. Overall, I like playing fast and uptempo.
PI: Can you expand on your relationship with your brother? How often do you guys see each other? What have you been able to learn from him over the years?
JH: We’re real close. He pushes me, we work out together, so we both push each other. We don’t get satisfied, we just keep working, staying in the gym. My dad pushes us, also...he doesn’t let us slack off, he stays on us...so that’s real good that he does that. He does most of my training.
PI: Describe your game – what are your greatest strengths and biggest areas for improvement? What’s the most underrated aspect of your game?
JH: I would say my biggest strengths are shooting the ball, getting other players involved and playing defense. I’d say things I probably need to work on are lessening turnovers a little bit, but that’s it pretty much.
PI: You’ve really made some nice strides with your shot and have become more consistent from range as of late...talk about that a little bit...what do you attribute that to?
JH: Just staying in the gym a lot, honestly...just staying in the gym a lot and getting reps, just tons of reps.
PI: What was it like playing for Quincy Pondexter on the EYBL circuit?
JH: It was real nice of him to be able to take time out of what he was doing to come coach us...he was in season when we started our season, but for him to come out and coach the rest of the time, it was nice just to have somebody in the NBA coaching us...that’s where we want to get to, so it was cool.
PI: What type of advice has he shared with you that’s stuck?
JH: Continue to work hard, that I’m going to get where I want to if I continue to work hard and believe and listen to the people that surround me.
PI: Which players impressed you the most on the EYBL circuit, this past spring and summer?
JH: Definitely Terrence Clarke. Also Josh Christopher, who was on my team with Vegas Elite. I like playing with him, he brings a lot of energy and he’s a fun guy to play with.
PI: Name 4 words that best describe you.
JH: Let me see...Humble. Caring (for teammates). Hard-working. Teamwork, I love being like the leader of my team.
PI: College or pro, current or former player – do you model your game after anyone?
JH: I watch a lot of James Harden and CJ McCollum...those two guys are the ones I watch the most often, just to pick up moves of theirs to practice.
PI: You have some time to figure it out, but what sort of factors are most important to you when thinking about choosing a college? Would you ever consider following a similar path to someone like RJ Hampton?
JH: I never gave the overseas route much thought, but what I’m looking for in a college is a winning program and a coach that’s going to push me to get to the next level. An uptempo style, getting up and down the floor is important, too.
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life? Why has that stuck with you and what did you learn from it?
JH: Just having a basketball background really stands out to me...my family comes from a basketball background, so having my brother playing at UNLV, seeing what he’s going through, to get to see what college is like, to see what he’s going through has been really impactful for me. My dad has been there all the time for me, too, so yeah.
PI: Anyone else in your family play ball, besides your older brother?
JH: I have a sister that plays, too.
PI: What, or who, would you say is your biggest motivation in life?
JH: My parents and my siblings...they just inspire me to go out on the court and play my hardest every time, and to not take any plays off.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
JH: Just to continue to listen to my parents, continue to stay humble and listen to my coaches because they say I’m almost there and that I just need to continue to work and stay humble.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
JH: In the NBA, on a team in the NBA.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
JH: Giving back...giving back to the youth, just trying to be involved with the younger people, because I know older people who have helped me who are in the NBA right now...so I know some people who have passed down some knowledge to me, so just being able to do the same thing and keep it going is really important to me.