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Ron Harper Jr. named to Julius Erving Award Watch List

This award is given annually to the best small forward in the country.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rutgers at Houston IndyStar-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers senior Ron Harper Jr. was one of 20 college basketball players named to the Watch List for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award on Wednesday. The announcement was made by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Last season, Harper Jr. was one of five finalists for this award that was ultimately given to Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert. In leading Rutgers into March Madness for the first time in 30 years and an NCAA Tournament victory for the first time in 38 years, Harper Jr. averaged 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He shot 44.1% from the floor, 31.0% from three-point range and 73.6% from the free throw line. In games in which he grabbed at least seven rebounds, Rutgers went 9-1.

This season, Harper Jr. returns alongside Geo Baker in hopes of leading Rutgers to another NCAA Tournament appearance. At last week’s media day for the program, Harper Jr. commented, “The season didn’t end the way we wanted it to last year, but we learned a lot of great things to keep the momentum running. We want to be national champions. We want to be Big Ten champions. We want to go above and beyond what people expect us to do.”

Of the 20 small forwards included on the watch list, the other Big Ten players joining Harper Jr. include Caleb Houstan of Michigan and Justice Sueing of Ohio State.

From the press release:

“College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2022 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award will be narrowed to 10 and then in late February to just 5. In March the five finalists will be presented to Mr. Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee where a winner will be selected.”

“Rutgers fans are encouraged to vote for Harper Jr. when Starting Five Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies will go live on Friday, October 22.”

Once voting goes live, a link to it will be added at the bottom of this article.