Nick Harden’s comeback story is amazing as he leads the DWU men to great start

Tigers are led by Harden who has made an incredible recovery from a career threatening injury
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 11:33 PM CST
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MITCHELL, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Nick Harden makes it a point to lift up his teammates. “It’s not in my mindset to carry a team. We need five guys to win the game,” DWU Senior Guard Nick Harden says.

By any means neccessary. “He’s the best offensive and defensive combination player that I’ve been able to coach because he’ll take the challenge of guarding anybody on the court and then offensively we run so much through him,” DWU Head Coach Matt Wilber says.

Surrounding himself with good people was important to the Chicago native after he transferred in from Midland four years ago, and Harden’s first two seasons saw him compliment Dakota Wesleyan’s third all-time leading scorer, Ty Hoglund. “On the offensive end he was more at it, I’m more chilled and lay back. Defense I’m more intense and then he’s more chill on defense. It was like keep pushing every day, my players have my back,” Nick says.

And Harden needed that support more than ever after a practice last January. “It was a non-contact. We had like two minutes left in practice and boom! It happens. And right when he got hurt I knew exactly what happened,” Wilber says.

“When I tore my achilles I really thought it was over because of the way that I tore it. I know it’s just meat there, nothing there, and I was like, I’m done,” Harden says.

Facing a daunting rehab, an odd coincidence led to Nick taking inspiration from an NBA star who suffered the same injury.

“When I tore up my achilles I was in a pair of Kevin Durant shoes so everybody gave me some stuff about that! I went to go watch stuff about him and how he rehabbed and how he took care of his.” Nick says. “It was an 18 month recovery (for Durant). Nick did in 7-8 months and he put in all the work on his own because it was during the pandemic.” Wilber says.

The only thing faster than Harden’s recovery was his return to form on the court, leading the 13-2 Tigers with just under 17 points per game. “When you got people that’s in your corner, on your side, and you surround yourself around good people they keep you motivated to keep going and never give up,” Harden says.

Elevating others his nothing new for Nick, though he could use some help elevating with some new shoes. “Kevin (my shoe) size is 10 and a half. KD’s, I tore my achilles just like you, I need it!” Nick says.

In Mitchell with photojournalist Dave Hauck, Zach Borg, Dakota News Now Sports.

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