Ron Harper Jr., the top scorer on this season’s Rutgers men’s basketball team, is featured in the Daily Targum. The senior guard has progressed from a highly regarded recruit to a potential NBA prospect, surpassing expectations and demonstrating an x-factor in critical moments.
During a phone interview with The Washington Post, the five-time NBA champion remarked, ‘I envisioned his future potential before he did. I didn’t focus on his current status… I glimpsed the man he would become. I’m well-versed in the game. It’s not the first time I’ve witnessed it. I observed his efforts and had faith in his potential.’
His son ultimately validated his beliefs.
Ron Harper Jr. has steadily improved at Rutgers, advancing each season after being underrated and under-recruited as a sub-150 prospect from New Jersey’s Don Bosco Prep. On Tuesday, he made history by becoming the 11th player in school history to be named an Associated Press All-American.
The journey was not always straightforward, and his family name brought a lot of unwelcome pressure and unrealistic expectations. He was cautioned that he would never live up to his famous father. Conversely, Ron supported his son by advising him to ignore the criticism. He relieved the burden by letting Ron Jr. know that he was rooting for him.
Both of them developed late, a common thread that binds them. Ron didn’t play high school basketball until his junior year after being cut as a freshman. Likewise, his son was not seen as a promising athlete in high school.
Ron possessed exceptional athletic abilities that allowed him to outperform his competitors. On the other hand, Ron Jr. is a significantly superior shooter to his father.
Rutgers guard Ron Harper Jr. reacts after making a game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Indiana on March 2, 2022, in Bloomington.
The shot salvaged Rutgers’ basketball season. With 10 seconds remaining, he received the ball and made a 3-pointer, putting the Scarlet Knights ahead of Indiana, 66-63, in a game crucial for their NCAA Tournament prospects.
It was an exceptional shot, and the celebration was unforgettable due to Harper’s achievement.
Rutgers is now one step closer to the NCAA Tournament, but the impact of his influence on this athletic department may last well beyond March Madness.
Ron only attended eleven games this year, mainly to keep the focus on his son. He’s not seeking the spotlight and only shows up when he believes his son needs him.
He will be present for Rutgers’ NCAA Tournament First Four game against Notre Dame on Wednesday night in Dayton, where he grew up, and the former NBA player is eagerly anticipating it.
Watching his child succeed on the court is among his proudest accomplishments.