Tim Hardaway Jr. is starting to show what a gutsy college basketball player he can be when he puts his mind to it.
Thursday night at Northwestern, Hardaway scored 21 points while shooting 6-of-8 from the floor for the Wolverines after coming off an ankle injury. His performance played a key role in Michgan’s 94-66 romp over Northwestern as the No. 2 ranked Wolverines improved to 14-0.
It’s not that Hardaway has to keep proving that he’s more than just the son of a former NBA player with the same name. He proved a year ago he was a top notch Big Ten player, but along with Trey Burke, Hardaway is the heart and soul of a Michigan team that most observers don’t feel deserve to be ranked as high as No. 2 in the country.
But give Hardaway credit for a gutsy effort and for coming back so soon and so impressively.
“It was close to being that serious,” Hardaway said. “We’re trying to not to make it worse. I know what the recovery will be like.”
Michigan coach John Beilein knows how mature of a player Hardaway has become.
“We held him back, yesterday went halfcourt only,” Beilein said. “They did good job preparing him. Tim, when you tell him to take 100 shots he takes 200 shots. If you tell him he needs to be in rehab for an hour he’ll be in it two hours.”
This sounds like a guy who wants to take his team to a Big Ten championship. We shall see.