Meet Rutgers forward Ron Harper Jr.

NEW YORK. Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Ron Harper Jr. is a dynamic NBA draft candidate looking to take his unique skills to the next level.

Harper, who averaged 15.8 points and 5.9 rebounds per game and made 39.8 percent of threes last season, is using his length to influence the floor. The ratio (1.12) of his 7ft 1.25in wingspan to his height is in the 98th percentile of all potential entrants who have ever entered the NBA draft. for each performance at the stadium.

According to Synergy, Harper was ranked 89th in the throw percentile from the catch. He also handled the ball effectively in pick-and-roll.

During a recent pre-draft practice in New York, Harper sat down with For The Win to discuss how his game is moving to the next level. He also talked about his strengths, his fitness, his body transformation, as well as his “basketball identity” in the state of New Jersey.

This interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.

How would you describe your game to someone who hasn’t seen you play?

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Ron Harper Jr.A: I’m a real competitor. People think I’m a shooter. But I can do whatever you need. If you need me to hit ten rebounds or defend the best guy, I’ll do it. My agent told me he heard a great comparison for me at Dillon Brooks. He brings character to the Memphis team. When I look at him, I see a fearless opponent. I see a lot of my game in his game. He is a fearless shooter and a great defender, and I want to be looked at that way too.

When I’m on the court, I try to be a dog. I treat each match personally. When I date someone, I want them to know it’s going to be a long night. They weren’t just given to me. I don’t care who I’m up against. I won’t be afraid. I will just play my game and do my best for my team to win. I want to dominate on both sides of the court. I feel comfortable doing everything. Rutgers made me play five. They made me bring the ball to the floor. I played forward. I have seen everything. This is a huge part of my game.

You have fearlessness with your jump roll. Where such confidence?

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Harper: I know I can take and hit hard because I know I’ve been there before. You build with practice. If you see yourself doing it in practice, you know you can do it in the game as well. It doesn’t just happen out of nowhere. It comes with a lot of shots and hard work. Sunny days wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for the rain. Triumphs aren’t special without a fight. That’s what makes a good day so good and you just have to be confident to win the game for your teammates and when it comes to those last ten seconds I want to be the one to take the hit. He can’t get in if he doesn’t get up. You don’t help anyone when you hesitate. I think my release point is much higher. This is the highest point of my release that has ever been. I used to hit the front rim hard. Nobody ever told me to raise the release point. Even last year I was shooting 40% of 3s even with a low shooting point.

What were your main efforts to improve the game in the offseason?

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Harper: In the morning I work out on the court, then we have speed and agility training, then weight lifting, then we are back on the court. I love lifting weights. It’s fun for me. I come from a place where many people have told me what I can and cannot do. So putting this weight on the bar and testing my abilities is a testament to what I have achieved in my basketball career. I like to surprise myself when I lift weights.

Also, this is the first time I’ve had an experience where it’s strictly basketball and I had a good time. I liked the guys I worked with. I like the people around me and the coaches. The guys I work with are great players. We all come from different schools. I met some new faces and had to compete with them. We’re here for about nine hours a day and we make the most of it. I feel like my jump shot has improved a lot. I changed a few things and it’s more consistent. For me it’s more natural. I fix the little things. But wherever I am, where I should be. I’m not going to get too high or too low. I just want to stick to the plan. I accept this process and I work to the best of my ability.

I know that another area of ​​focus has shrunk a bit. How are you?

(Photo by Emily Chinn/Getty Images)

Harper: I’m happy. I see changes in my body. This is a huge change and I don’t even know if I expected it to happen so quickly. It energizes me. It keeps me healthy. I feel different than ever before. I feel lighter and in better shape and I can walk longer. I just want to keep going, keep working, look even better and be in even better shape. A big part of the process of getting ready for the draft is to transform your body, and I think I’m making progress in that and I want to continue in the same spirit. The teams will realize that I am more explosive and athletic than they thought. I’m a better defender than they realized. I would show flashes, but I will show them more consistently.

How would you describe and characterize basketball in New Jersey?

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Harper: This is rigidity. It never backs down. I love it when someone challenges me. I don’t want to guard someone that no one thinks I can stop. This is New Jersey. We crave the opportunity to prove who we are and who we can be. If you’re talking about the Grizzlies and tenacity and tenacity, New Jersey is the same. Each team is a pack of dogs. Many guys were understaffed. We have something to prove, and we came out of the depths of darkness, and we shocked many people.

So watching the development of basketball in New Jersey is great. This is amazing. It’s a small state, but we have Kyrie Irving, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kyle Anderson. It shows us that we can play on a big stage and do it. I am pretty good family friends with Shaheen Holloway. I have always known him. No one thought that St. Peters would go to the tournament this year, except for himself and his players. No one thought they would make it to the Elite Eight. He is a pioneer. He believes in himself and it’s contagious. I was at the Wells Fargo Center when they beat Purdue and I was ecstatic. It was an amazing moment for basketball and an amazing moment for New Jersey.

How were you a low-profile prospect when your father is a five-time NBA champion?

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Harper: I wanted to play for my mom. She had an AAU team. I never thought about playing somewhere else. I made the right choice despite being harder to recruit on an unsponsored AAU team. High school basketball is in the spotlight. There are many cameras. When my brother plays, there are cameras at every game. Their games are on Synergy for Scouts. It didn’t happen when I played. But I found the right school. It was an excellent choice.

Tell me about your relationship with your brother Dylan, who is also a great player.

© Anne-Marie Caruso/ TODAY NETWORK

Harper: My younger brother stayed with me during spring break. We are competitive. It has always been so. He inspires me and I want to be an example for him. He wants to be part of my journey and I, as his older brother, are his mentor. I want him to be his best self. At the end of the workout, we will cycle for three miles. At the end, I see him gaining momentum, trying to beat me. However, I’m not trying to let him beat me. He is an excellent player. This is my favorite training partner. I love being close to my family. One of the reasons I went to Rutgers was so my family could watch me play. It gives me a great feeling of being at home.

Are you someone who loves to win or hates to lose more?


Harper: It’s funny. Jimmy Boeheim just told me NBA teams ask this question, so I thought about it. I definitely hate losing more than I love winning. I hate feeling like I’m not good enough. It inspires me to work harder. Failure is part of the process. How you recover from a loss is more important than how you play after a win. It’s so funny that you’re asking this because we literally just talked about it.

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