Ron Harper, Jr: Rutgers Recruit Is One of New Jersey’s Most Versatile Players

Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography.

By David Cordova

When you’re the namesake of an NBA player, a lot of is expected of you, mainly you dominating on the court. They even expect you to be better than everybody else around.

For Ron Harper, Jr., expectations are deflated once he steps on the court, as he is always able to hold his own on the hardwood. The 6-foot-6 forward is a skilled big that uses muscle and skill to dominate in the paint, but can also step out and shoot, as well as dribble.

“The first thing that motivates me, is trying to be better than my father, ’cause, you know, I can’t really do nothing without his name being attached to it, so one day, I want to build it out the window,” says Harper.

His father is Ron Harper, Sr., who played sixteen seasons in the NBA for four teams, most notably with the Chicago Bulls from 1995 to 1998, when he teamed up with Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman to win three straight NBA championships.

Harper plans on making a move to the hole. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

When asked about lessons passed down by the elder Harper, the younger Harper replied, “He taught me to always be confident and to always play hard and that’s pretty much it.”

Harper played three years of varsity basketball at Don Bosco Prep and helped lead the Ironmen to two straight North Jersey, Non-Public A titles and state titles and also two consecutive trips to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions in the last two seasons and also leading them to a 55-5 record in that span.

His senior season was a great one for him, as he averaged 20.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, while leading Don Bosco Prep to a 26-3 record, which ended in a loss to Roselle Catholic in the Tournament of Champions title game in Trenton, New Jersey on March 18th.

When asked about his high school days with the Ironmen, Harper replied, “My four years at Don Bosco were definitely great. We faced adversity year after year and we overcame it, and you know, we came up short the last two years, and that’s alright, because we had a great run.”

Harper terrorizes the rim during the North Jersey, Non-Public A sectional title game at the Rutgers Athletic Center, which will be his home court next year. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

When asked about his strengths and weaknesses, he replied, “Strengths, my offensive ability to shoot, pass, jump, and probably, my weakness is lateral quickness, so I gotta work on that before next year, playing in the Big Ten.”

Next season, he will be headed to Rutgers, where he will join a recruiting class that includes center Mamadou Doucoure from Centereach, NY, guard Montez Mathis of Baltimore and Peter Kiss, a transfer from Quinnipiac.

When asked what he will bring to the Scarlet Knights next season, he replied, “I’m going to bring them somebody who gives it their all on the court, and they’re struggling when it comes to shooting, they need shooters, so you know, that’s the biggest part, I’m bringing them somebody like me that’s consistent that’s going to knock down the three.”

Harper looks to make a move on the perimeter. (Photo courtesy of Johnnie Photography)

Now that high school has come to a close, Harper is working out and playing in leagues such as the Pete Ciccone/Nick Sinis Tournament in Port Chester and I.S. 8 in Jamaica, Queens, where he has been dominating with highlight-reel dunks.

His thoughts on playing in the tri-state area? “Not only Jersey basketball, but tri-state basketball is the best in the world, you know, you’re not going to find better competition than Jersey, New York and Philly, so you know, it’s great.”

Next year, he will be a Scarlet Knight, and he and the rest of his recruiting class plan to make a statement at the RAC and in the Big Ten. “We’re looking to make history at Rutgers, we want to make history. We want to make it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in many years, and you, know, we just want to put our names on the wall at Rutgers.”


Highlights of Ron Harper, Jr:

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.

Courtesy of Jersey Sports Zone.

Courtesy of Jersey Sports Zone.

Courtesy of Gym Rats.

Courtesy of NJ Hoop Recruit.


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