Critics find it easy knocking Brock Harding before seeing him play basketball. Off of the court, he looks the kid that would take your tickets at the movie theatre.
Then he steps onto the hardwood. He delivers, play after play after play. Fran McCaffery sees it.
The Iowa Basketball coach offered the Class of 2023 Moline (IL) High and Mid-Pro Academy point guard a scholarship on Monday, his first from a high major. With a keen eye for talent, McCaffery believed in the 6-foot, 160-pound magician with the ball.
"Coach McCaffery called me and texted me this weekend, and then called (Monday) and offered," Harding told HN. "He told me that every time he has seen me play I have always outplayed my completion, and that's hard to do on a game-to-game basis.
"He said he loves the fit that he sees in my game and can see me playing well with the two guards (Ahron Ulis and Desonte Bowen) that are there right now. He told me that he's had great success with playing multiple guards and sees me doing that."
Harding is very familiar with Iowa, a school sitting an hour west of his home.
"It's a good feeling to get this offer, just with it being my first high major and it being so close to home. It changes things a little bit just because it's another school in the mix. I'm still kind of on the same recruiting schedule I've had, so it doesn't alter it too much," he said.
Harding teams up on with Moline and Mid-Pro with Owen Freeman, who is verbally committed to the Hawkeyes.
"Owen has been trying to get me to commit before they even offered," Harding joked. "It would be awesome to play with him in college. We have always clicked since we started playing together. But now playing high school together, we really are seeing how well we fit each other."
It makes sense that the Iowa system in which Freeman sees himself fitting also matches up with Harding's strengths as a player.
"I think that the freedom that coach McCaffery gives his players is something that I would fit really well in. He likes guards that can play the game, shoot the ball and run in transition, and I think I check all those boxes," Harding said.
As a junior, Harding knocked down 37 treys in conference play and shot 56.0 percent on two-pointers. He connected on 82.0 percent of his free throws and registered 93 steals. He earned first-team all-state honors in Class 4A from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association.
"I will probably visit (Iowa) sometime in the next month and then will official some time in the fall," he said.
Loyola, St. Louis, Illinois State, Drake, Appalachian State, Bradley, Southern Illinois, Illinois-Chicago, Colorado State, Southeast Missouri State, Eastern Illinois, Purdue-Fort Wayne, Radford, Cal Poly and Western Illinois have reportedly offered Harding scholarships. He's been hearing from Butler and Oregon State, among other high majors.
247Sports ranks Harding as a three-star prospect, the No. 33 point guard nationally in '23 and the seventh best player overall in Illinois for the cycle.