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Ron Harper Jr., Geo Baker, Caleb McConnell earn recognition as All-Metropolitan awards release

Senior guard Ron Harper Jr. was honored with the Haggerty Award by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, becoming just the third player in program history to receive this honor.  – Photo by Rutgers Basketball / Twitter

Senior guards Ron Harper Jr., Geo Baker and Caleb McConnell of the Rutgers men’s basketball team were recognized for several honors as the All-New York Metropolitan awards were released yesterday. The accolades were highlighted by Harper winning the prestigious Haggerty Award.

The Haggerty Award, named after Lt. Frank J. Haggerty, is given to the All-New York Metropolitan NCAA Division I men’s college basketball player of the year as decided by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association. He is just the third Scarlet Knight (18-14, 12-8) to ever receive the honor, joining Phil Sellers and 2006 winner Quincy Douby.

Harper put together a memorable senior season on his way to the Haggerty Award. Starting in all 32 games, Harper averaged a team-high 15.8 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds per game. He did this on nearly 40 percent shooting from three and on approximately 80 percent free-throw shooting, both of which were also team-highs.

The Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, native adds the Haggerty Award to a long list of postseason accolades which includes Honorable Mention All-American and Second Team All-Big Ten.

"It's an honor to win the Haggerty Award, and it took a village to get here," Harper 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.”

Harper’s season was not just impressive on the stat sheet. As the final seconds ticked down in a crucial road game against Indiana, Harper buried a game-winning three-pointer to secure a massive late-season road win.

This shot to defeat the Hoosiers (21-14, 9-11) accompanied the iconic game-winner he hit to down then-No. 1 Purdue at Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus.

Last month, Harper joined his teammate McConnell in declaring for the 2022 NBA Draft.

“I'm real proud of (Harper) for winning this prestigious award,” said head coach Steve Pikiell. “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 (Harper) and the hard work that he's put in since he got to Rutgers.”

In addition to Harper, Baker was named All-Met Second Team while McConnell, who was awarded Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year last month, made the All-Met Third Team. Harper was part of the All-Met First Team.

The trio of Harper, Baker and McConnell were key members in Rutgers’ success over the past three seasons. Baker and Harper leave the program as top-15 all-time scorers while McConnell accumulated the fifth-most steals for a single season in the Knights' history.

“These seniors came to Rutgers when we were just selling the dream of making the NCAA Tournament,” Pikiell said. “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."

For more updates on the Rutgers men's basketball team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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