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Scott Howard-Cooper

Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr. is a 6-foot-5 sophomore shooting guard at Michigan.
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Heat scout Hardaway sees a familiar face in Michigan guard

Posted Jan 25 2012 2:42PM

Tim Hardaway -- Tim Hardaway Sr. -- was in Cincinnati on Jan. 23 to see Syracuse-Cincinnati and planned to be in West Lafayette, Ind., on Tuesday for Purdue-Michigan. Draft preperation in his life as a Heat scout.

Michigan has a player who could go in the first round. He's a guard, too, and Hardaway knows a little about what it takes to play guard in the NBA. No report has been filed to the Miami bosses, though.

"Not yet," Hardaway said. "But I will. At some point in time, I will."

It will be strange.

"It will be very strange," he countered. "But I will tell the truth. I have to. I will put down the good and the bad."

In the same season Hall of Fame candidate Tim Hardaway Sr. got his number retired by Texas-El Paso and began work as a Heat scout, Tim Hardaway Jr. is the starting shooting guard for 15-5 Michigan and a possibility for the first round of the June 28 Draft. This could be a blockbuster few months in that house.

Tim Hardaway Sr., now a scout with the Heat, was a five-time All-Star in a 13-year NBA career.
Doug Pensinger /Allsport

Tim Sr. said his son won't decide until after the season whether to return to school for a junior season or enter the Draft to continue the family legacy. The elder Hardaway was a five-time All-Star during 14 seasons with the Warriors, Heat, Mavericks, Nuggets and Pacers, and a two-time gold medalist with Team USA in the Olympics and world championships. Tim Jr., Dad said, is enjoying the program and the school.

The basketball uncertainty is understandable.

Tim Jr. is 6-foot-5, a good size for shooting guard. He is a good athlete and solid defender. He has a passion to play. At 185 pounds, though, he needs to get stronger. And he is shooting 42.4 percent overall and 27.4 on threes -- the numbers in seven Big Ten games are 37.5 and 19, respectively. That becomes a very tough sell to NBA front offices.

It doesn't matter that the son's game is nothing like his father. Tim Sr. was a star at point guard, not shooting-guard. Tim Sr. played as a 5-foot-11, 195-pound brick house. Father was always in control as one of the most dominant ballhandlers of his generation. Tim Sr., as professional talent evaluator and unpaid parent, quickly notes the Michigan sophomore needs to work on his handle.

Senior: From the streets of Chicago. Junior: From Miami, where millionaire professional athletes raise families.

"He didn't have to walk far to find games," the father said. "I rode bikes places. I rode busses to places. I played basketball all over Chicago. Miami is not that way. Miami is not Chicago. Miami is not New York. Miami is not Indiana."

Plus, Tim Sr. said, "He's never going to have my tenacity, my ego, my personality."

As if many will. Now 45, he was once one of the great talkers in the game, even as an NBA newcomer with Golden State. He was part of the offensive fireworks of Run TMC with Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Only the calendar has changed.

He is also beaming these days about the college sophomore who watches a lot of film to learn from mistakes, about the player who always wanted to work on his game in a gym or around the hoop outside the family home in Miami, about the son.

"A unique pride," Tim Hardaway Sr. called it. "My chest is out. I'm very, very happy for him. I want his dream to come true."

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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