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Rutgers’ Ron Harper Jr. agrees to two-way deal with Toronto Raptors

The All-American went undrafted but landed in a good spot.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Harper Jr. went undrafted on Thursday night in the 2022 NBA Draft. Per Adrian Wojnarowski, he has agreed to a two-way deal with the Toronto Raptors

He was projected by most sites to be selected in the second round. However, even if he was taken late, he likely would have ended up with a two-way deal regardless. By not getting drafted, it helped Harper Jr. pick a team that is a good fit for him.

The four year player 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 last season. 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. Harper Jr. was also an above average defender. His stop of Clemson’s Aamir Simms was a key moment in clinching Rutgers’ first NCAA Tournament in 38 years.

Harper Jr. won the Haggerty Award for this past season, which is given to the All-New York Metropolitan NCAA Division I men’s college basketball player of the year, The Franklin Lakes, New Jersey native was also 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.

In order for Harper Jr. to be successful in the NBA, he likely needs to develop specific strengths in his game that would make him a valuable role player. His potential to become an elite three-point shooter and also defend at a high level would give Harper Jr. the opportunity to establish himself in the league.

Wayne Embry is a senior advisor for Toronto and was the General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1986 who selected Ron Harper, his father.

“The Rutgers basketball family is so proud of Ron Harper Jr. for this opportunity with the Toronto Raptors,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “This couldn’t have happened to a better person or better ambassador for our program on and off the court. Ron guided us to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, hit some of the biggest shots in Rutgers history and achieved incredible individual accolades over the past four years. I am so excited to watch Ron’s NBA journey and I am thrilled for his friends and family.”

Joining a winning team in Toronto will make it harder to find minutes or even a roster spot initially. That’s why a two-way deal is helpful because he’ll have an opportunity to develop with the Raptors G League team with the likely security of having a full season to crack the NBA roster. Harper Jr. will have the chance to grow in a really good organization that is giving him a shot to make in the NBA and that’s all he has asked for. Toronto has a history of developing their G League players into NBA players. Hopefully, Harper Jr. can make the most of it.

“I want to congratulate Ron Harper Jr. on being a part of the Rutgers NBA family,” former pro Quincy Douby said. “He’s a stud man. I think his game will translate to the next level. I’ll never forget when he hit the biggest shot in Rutgers history against Purdue. When he hit that shot, I literally ran around the house. My family and I want to send love and congratulations to Ron Harper Jr.!”

“Ron, you are now a part of a select few who played at Rutgers University and went on to play in the NBA so enjoy that,” longtime NBA veteran Roy Hinson said. “I wish you nothing but the best and I look forward to seeing you in Vegas for the rookie-transition program.”