Prep teammates Hassell, Marion relish memories

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2007 - 11:02 PM

Separately, Timberwolves guard Trenton Hassell and Phoenix forward Shawn Marion each had the same response.

The subject was their Clarksville, Tenn., high school basketball team -- where they were teammates for three seasons -- and how good it must have been to have produced two future NBA starters.

"It was a pretty good team, I'll say that," Hassell said. "But we never won the state title."

Said Marion: "We won a lot of games, but we didn't win state."

They must have had some pretty tough competition. Marion, who moved to Clarksville from Chicago in junior high, was a year ahead of Hassell. But Hassell was the top offensive option.

"I was the big scorer," he said with a smile. "I played just about every position. I averaged like 25 points per game, and he averaged 22, 23. It was close, but I did more things."

Marion agreed.

"He went from being a scorer in high school and college to not really being a scorer in the pros," he said. "He can still score, but not like he did at Clarksville."

The roles have reversed a bit. Hassell is valued mainly for his defense and has never averaged in double figures in the NBA. Marion, meanwhile, is averaging 18.8 points per game this season, which is about his career average.

That doesn't surprise Hassell.

"I knew he was a great athlete," Hassell said. "He's become a good rebounder, shot-blocker and he can play defense. And he's done improved his three-ball a lot."

But you never won state?

"We always ended up losing to the team that won state," Hassell said. "My junior year we won like 24 games in a row. But we didn't win state."

Friendly advice

Amare Stoudemire, who underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2005, has some advice for Wolves guard Rashad McCants, who is close to coming back from the same procedure: Know the difference between pain and discomfort.

"He's going to feel some discomfort with the knee," Stoudemire said. "Coming back from that injury is going to be tough, especially at first. But you have to keep playing, pushing through that discomfort."

But pain? That's another issue.

"When you feel the pain and it's a sharp pain, that's when you have to ease off," he said. "You have to be smart about it."

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