On Wednesday, Rutgers basketball’s Ron Harper Jr. was named to the Julius Erving Award Watch List, which is given to the nation’s top small forward each season. Twenty players were included on the Watch List.
From the Rutgers press release:
“Harper enters his third season as a Scarlet Knight having started 49 games and averaging 10.0 points and 4.5 rebounds for his career. Last season, he was an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten and Second Team All-Met selection after he led the team with 12.1 points per game. The Franklin Lakes, N.J. native also collected 5.8 rebounds per game with 25 blocks, shooting 45.2 percent from the field.”
“The product of Don Bosco Prep excelled versus nationally-ranked foes last season, averaging 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in those games, and shooting 50 percent. Harper Jr. was named the MET Player of the Week after scoring a game-high 18 points in the win over No. 22 Seton Hall, earning Joe Calabrese Game MVP Honors.”
Harper Jr. was not heavily recruited and held just one other power five conference offer (Nebraska) when he ultimately committed to Rutgers the summer before his senior season of high school. He finished ranked as the 175th best recruit in the 2018 class and 40th best small forward nationally per 247 Sports composite rankings. Harper Jr. has shown steady growth the last two seasons and has the potential to develop into one of the best players in the Big Ten and the country this season.
Lindy’s named Harper Jr. the preseason Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and last season he finished in the top 25 in the following categories in Big Ten play: effective field goal percentage (15th), turnover rate (15th), block percentage (16th), three-point shooting percentage (16th), free throw shooting (19th), true shooting percentage (20th), and defensive rebounding rate (22nd).