The men’s basketball roster is fully set for the upcoming 2023-24 campaign with Austin Williams's commitment and Oskar Palmquist's official return this past week. However, more good news could be on the way shortly as the class of 2024’s No. 1 recruit, Dylan Harper, has hinted at making a final decision for his college destination. This appears to be a two-horse race as it’s firmly believed in expert recruiting circles that Harper is only currently weighing Duke vs. Rutgers with Indiana a distant 3rd and Kansas and Auburn now out of the equation.
To further raise the hopes of scarlet-clad fans, Duke’s expert recruiting analysts, Chad Lykins and Adam Rowe of The Devils’s Den, both made crystal ball picks last week, predicting Harper chooses the Scarlet Knights. Then on Saturday, Rutgers Insiders’ Bobby Deren also made a crystal ball pick in favor of Rutgers. While this in no way, shape, or form guarantees that Harper will ultimately choose the Knights, things are trending in a very positive direction.
Harper is currently No. 1 in Rivals’ Class of ‘24 rankings, followed by Ace Bailey, who committed to Rutgers last January. The Knights currently sit at No. 2 in the nation in the Class of ‘24 rankings behind only UNC. Obviously, a Harper commitment would give Rutgers a real shot at its first ever No. 1 class in men’s basketball. Yes, numero uno. You read that correctly.
Harper has kept busy this summer, leading his NY Rens team on a deep run at the Nike Peach Jam in early July. The Don Bosco Prep star, and younger brother of former Rutgers legend and current Toronto Raptor Ron Harper Jr., averaged 21.2 points in six games, along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists while leading the Rens to the 17U semifinals. This past weekend, Harper teamed up with potential future teammate Ace Bailey at Steph Curry Camp. Bailey took home MVP honors but Harper had a strong showing of his own, putting together the type of highlight reel one expects from the nation’s No. 1 recruit.
In addition to Bailey, Harper would join 3-star wing Bryce Dortch and 4-star center Lathan Sommerville, fielding one of the top freshman classes in the nation. Factor in 3-star guard Jamichael Davis and 4-star forward Gavin Griffiths, who will be sophomores in 2024, and that’s a squad that should legitimately be competing for a Big Ten championship.
Winning with the best roster is never guaranteed, as seen with recent Kentucky teams, but for the first time since the mid 1970s, Rutgers becomes a legit preseason Final 4 contender. That’s progress.