james harden*Oklahoma City Thunder star James Harden is breaking through this post-season as a player to watch.

The team overall, whose stars include Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, is barely known sometimes due to the large amount of press the two stars receive.

But after Harden willed the Thunder to victory this past weekend against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, he has become the hot, new player in the league.

Here are a few things you didn’t know about the bearded man.

1. Looks up to fellow left-handed ball player Manu Ginobili from the San Antonio Spurs.

When Harden was drafted, many analysts compared him to Spurs shooting guard Manu Ginobili because of their similar games.

Harden went on to say that Ginobili was one of the players he looked up to and modeled his game after.

2. Harden was born in Los Angeles, California.

Harden joins the long list of great players to come out from the state of California.

Here are a few: Baron Davis, Kevin Johnson, Gail Goodrich, Jason Kidd and Dennis Johnson to name a few.

3. James Harden appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Preview issue in his sophomore year.

Not every college athlete gets the honor of being on the cover of sports’ major magazine. Harden got the honor of appearing on the magazine after leading an Arizona State Sun Devils team to the tournament after analysts had them finishing out of it.

4.  He led his High School AAU team, Pump and Run Elite, to the 2006 Las Vegas Adidas Super 64 championship.

Like most high school players, Harden was part of an AAU team; but not all of them lead a team to a championship and that’s just what he did defeating teams with Michael Beasley and Kevin Love on them to name a few NBA players.

5. He was the 2009 Pac-10 player of the year.

Harden joined the long list of great players who have won the award including Brandon Roy, Kevin Love, Jason Terry and Mike Bibby.