Houston Rockets guard James Harden is thrilled with the news that his high school coach and close friend, Scott Pera, is expected to become an assistant basketball coach at Rice.
New Owls head coach Mike Rhoades is expected to add Pera to his staff.
He has been an assistant coach at Penn for the past two years.
Pera coached Harden at Artesia High school in Lakewood, Calif. and again when the two were together at Arizona State where Pera was an assistant on the Sun Devil's staff.
"Great, great for him," Harden said in an interview with FOX 26 Sports."He's a tremendous coach. He's coached me three years in high school.
"He developed me from being a young guy. He coached me at Arizona State. He has a great opportunity to be closer to me and what a great university in Rice."
Harden, an NBA All-Star in 2013 and 2014, said Pera is a big reason why he is in the NBA.
"He's my mentor from ninth grade on," Harden said. "He's got me to where I am now. He's helped me mature from a kid to a grown man. I'm happy to have him closer, close by me."
Pera was at Arizona State from 2006-2012.
According to the Penn web site Pera was the Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press Telegram Southern California Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2006.
Harden said Rice University is about to land an excellent assistant coach.
"Definitely, top of the line, an amazing coach," Harden said. "(He's) soon to be a head coach one day.
"I'm happy for him. I'm proud of him."