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Elijah Millsap getting noticed for more than just his name

Elijah Millsap turning heads with toughness and defense
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: October 2, 2010 at 12:46 am •  Published: October 1, 2010

When asked what kind of player he views himself as, Millsap rattled off a who's who list of the league's best defenders — Thabo Sefolosha. Ron Artest. Luc Mbah a Moute.

"A guy that's going to come in and just give it all he's got and just defend and guard the best player on the court," Millsap said.

Millsap is generously listed at 6-foot-6 but looks closer to 6-4. But he has a rock-solid frame that seemingly is built for banging and an all-business attitude that has no time for making friends.

Millsap was seen at Wednesday's practice-ending scrimmage walking up to Harden during a stoppage in play and shoving him before adding a few inaudible words. Harden shoved back and added a few more words. Millsap later explained he took exception to an inadvertent elbow to the face by Harden while defending a drive to the basket. The scene, though, spelled out so much about Millsap. It showed his toughness. His competitiveness. His fearlessness. It showed that Millsap won't back down, even as a non-guaranteed contract camper going against the 2009 No. 3 overall pick.

Above all, the scene proved Millsap has taken heed to what he said was older brother Paul's biggest message to him as he sets out on his own professional career.

Take no prisoners.

"On the court you've just got to be fearless. You've just got to go at people and let them know that you're here," Millsap said. "Being a guy without a contract and being a rookie, guys are going to come at you. They're going to feel that you're the weak link on the team so you got to hold your ground. That's what I'm trying to do."

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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