In a move that was expected by many, senior guard Ron Harper Jr. declared for the 2022 NBA Draft today. This ends his time as a member of the Rutgers men’s basketball team after four seasons full of memorable moments on the Banks.
“The last 4 years have been nothing short of a dream come true,” Harper Jr. said in a tweet announcing his decision. “I’ve made countless relationships that will last a lifetime … Now it is time for me to pursue another dream of mine.”
Harper Jr. has left a legacy of greatness as a member of the Scarlet Knights (18-14, 12-8), being the first player to be named to the All-Big Ten Second Team in program history after setting new career highs in scoring, steals and three-point shooting this season. He finishes his collegiate career 12th all-time in scoring at Rutgers and 19th all-time in blocks.
Harper Jr. has spent his time in college stepping up in big moments, with his first truly memorable performance coming in his sophomore year against in-state rival Seton Hall. In that game, he led with 18 points in the blowout victory and was named the Joe Calabrese Game MVP.
His junior year saw the Knights make their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1991 and win their first game in the tournament since 1983. His game began to be recognized on a national level as he was 1 of the final 50 players on the watchlist for the Wooden Award and 1 of 5 finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given to the country’s best small forward.
Harper Jr.’s final year in Piscataway saw moments that will remain in Rutgers lore for years to come. His most notable game came in December when he scored 30 points and hit a half-court buzzer-beater to defeat then No. 1 Purdue at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.
The senior also saved the Knights’ NCAA Tournament chances late in the season, hitting another game-winning shot at Indiana that helped the program make back-to-back appearances in the tournament for the first time since the mid-1970s.
"In over 30 years of coaching I have never had a player on and off the court like (Harper Jr.)," said head coach Steve Pikiell. “He's given Rutgers fans some of the best moments in school history and helped lead us to three-straight NCAA Tournament bids. I truly believe that his best basketball is ahead of him, and I am excited to see him and his family explore the opportunity of the 2022 NBA Draft.”
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