Ron Harper Jr. added to his Rutgers legacy on Monday after winning the Haggerty Award given to the All-New York Metropolitan NCAA Division I men’s college basketball player of the year. He is just the third Rutgers player to ever win the award in its 86 year history and the first since Quincy Douby won it in 2006. The only other Scarlet Knight to win the prestigious honor was Phil Sellers, who won both in 1975 and 1976.
The senior forward led RU with 15.8 points, was second on the team with 5.9 rebounds, while adding 1.9 assists and 1.0 steal per game. He shot 44.2% from the floor, led RU with a 39.8% mark from three-point range and shot 79.5% from the foul line.
His game winning buzzer beater to defeat No. 1 Purdue was one of the biggest plays in all of college basketball last season. His game winning three-pointer with just two seconds remaining at Indiana was a memorable moment as well.
In addition to winning the Haggerty Award for this past season, Harper Jr. was named an Honorable Mention All-American (Associated Press), Second Team All-Big Ten, NABC Second Team All-District, and First Team All-ECAC. He was also one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award for the second consecutive year, given to the top small forward in the nation.
The four-year senior has declared for the NBA Draft and is not expected to return despite having one year of eligibility remaining. He has scored 1,525 points in his Rutgers career, tying him with Roy Hinson for 12th all-time in program history along with having the 19th most blocks all-time as well.
“It’s an honor to win the Haggerty Award and it took a village to get here,” Harper Jr. said. I’d like to thank my support system in my family, my coaches, my teammates, and everyone that has been around me on this great journey. There are a lot of well-deserving players for this award, and I am extremely honored the metropolitan writers voted for me. Winning the Haggerty Award has never been about myself and it’s an honor to be in the same class as Rutgers greats Quincy Douby and Phil Sellers. It’s a privilege to be where I am today. Growing up no one ever expected me to be put of this kind of platform in college. Thanks to the people around me, I have been able to overcome every obstacle that has come my way in the adversity I have been through in my four years at Rutgers. It’s an honor to receive such a prestigious award.”
“I’m real proud of Ron Harper Jr. for winning this prestigious award,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “When you think of the Haggerty award you think about the long tradition of legendary basketball players who have won this award in the New Jersey area. It’s a credit to Ron and the hard work that he’s put in since he got to Rutgers. Thank you to the metropolitan writers for voting Ron to receive this outstanding honor. To win the Haggerty Award as a kid who grew up in New Jersey makes this extra special for him.”
Rutgers had two other players honored as Geo Baker was named to the All-Met Second Team and Caleb McConnell was named to the All-Met Third team. Baker was second on the team in three categories in averaging 12.6 points, 3.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. McConnell won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.1 assists per game.
“I am so proud of Geo and Caleb for continuing to be recognized in their illustrious careers at Rutgers,” Pikiell said. Thank you to the metropolitan writers for voting for them. These seniors came to Rutgers when we were just selling the dream of making the NCAA Tournament. They have changed the culture for the Scarlet Knights men’s basketball program, and we look forward to what’s ahead for each of them.”
The award ceremony takes places on Monday night in Tarrytown, New York. Here is a full listing of all of the All-Met Awards:
Julian Champagnie, St. John’s • 6-8, Jr., G/F, Brooklyn, NY
Aaron Estrada, Hofstra • 6-3, Jr., G, Woodbury, NJ
Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers • 6-6, Sr., G/F Franklin Lakes, NJ
Tyson Jolly, Iona • 6-4, Gr., G, Muskogee, OK
Alex Morales, Wagner • 6-6, Gr., G, Paterson, NJ
Jared Rhoden, Seton Hall • 6-6, Sr., G, Baldwin, NY
Posh Alexander, St. John’s • 6-0, So., G, Brooklyn, NY
Geo Baker, Rutgers • 6-4, Sr., G, Derry, NH
Ty Flowers, LIU • 6-9, Gr., F, Waterbury, CT
K.C. Ndefo, Saint Peter’s • 6-7, Sr., F, Elmont, NY
Nelly Junior Joseph, Iona • 6-9, So., F, Benin City, Nigeria
Jose Perez, Manhattan • 6-5, Sr., F, Bronx, NY
Daryl Banks III, Saint Peter’s • 6-3, Jr., G, Los Angeles, CA
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers • 6-7, Sr., G, Jacksonville, FL
Chuba Ohams, Fordham • 6-9, Gr., F, Bronx, NY
George Papas, Monmouth • 6-5, Gr., G, Jersey City, NJ
Eral Penn, LIU • 6-7, Sr., F, Brooklyn, NY
Haggerty Award / Player of the Year: Ron Harper Jr., Rutgers
Rookie of the Year: Jao Ituka, Marist • 6-1, Fr., G, Gaithersburg, MD
Peter A. Carlesimo Coach of the Year: Shaheen Holloway, Saint Peter’s