OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Weber State is having a solid season, thanks mainly in part to the play of the smallest player on the team.
6-foot-1-inch sophomore guard Jerrick Harding is averaging 21.5 points per game this season, which leads the Big Sky Conference and is 23rd in the entire nation.
“I didn’t know about the top-25 thing in scoring or anything like that,” Harding said. “I just try to go out there and do my job.”
Harding has hit the 30-point mark three times this season including 31 points in Saturday’s win over Southern Utah.
“What he is is just a confident, mentally tough kid,” said Weber State head coach Randy Rahe. “He’s got tremendous confidence in himself and really believes in himself. Because of that, I think he feels like he’s the best player on the court every time he takes the court.”
Harding was named Mr. Basketball in high school in the state of Kansas. However, mainly because of his size, he was not heavily recruited. All of the big name schools like Kansas, Wichita State and Kansas State shied away. But that has only motivated him.
“It put a big chip on my shoulder,” Harding said. “I felt like not being recruited by those bigger schools made me work ten times harder. I feel like I’ve been underestimated my whole life.”
A smaller, underestimated guard with a chip on his shoulder, sound familiar? Former Weber State and current NBA star Damian Lillard said the same thing about himself before coming to Ogden. It just so happens, Harding has always been a huge fan of Lillard.
“You know what’s crazy?,” Harding said. “Before Weber even started recruited me, I used to watch Dame highlights at Weber State. So it’s just crazy that they started recruiting me. I felt like it was a great place for me to come.”
Harding has spoken with Lillard, who has given him advice on how to succeed at Weber State.
“He told me how to be a better leader,” Harding said. “Even though I’m a sophomore, I need to be a better leader because the guys look up to me.”
Even though he is only 6-foot-1.