Top high school basketball recruit makes shocking college decision

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    Five-star basketball recruit Dylan Harper, the son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper Sr., announced his decision to take his talents to Rutgers University in a shocking decision. 

    Harper’s decision was reported by ESPN prior to announcing the decision at the Fanatics office in New York on Wednesday night. Harper is finalizing an NIL deal with Fanatics as well. 

    He is the No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2024, via ESPN, and the Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) product wants to remain in state to continue his basketball journey under head coach Steve Pikiell. 

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    Dylan Harper runs on court

    Dylan Harper makes a pass during the Pangos All-American Festival on August 27, 2022 at the McBride High School in Long Beach, CA. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Pikiell has done a fantastic job recruiting for his Scarlet Knights squad, which just missed out on an NCAA Tournament berth last season. Other than Harper, ESPN’s No. 3 overall prospect Ace Bailey from Powder Springs, G.A. is heading to Rutgers as well. 

    “I have a deep connection with the staff over a long period of time,” Harper said, via ESPN. “Head coach Steve Pikiell, associate head coach Brandin Knight and assistant coach TJ Thompson. Staying at home means everything for me. It is exciting for me knowing everyone who got to see me grow up, like my family, friends and coaches, can see me play. Knowing that I can make a stamp in my home state has always been a thing for me.

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    “[Pikiell] gets the most out of each player and his team. I trust him to do what’s right for the team. He is such an uplifting person and coach. He is always helping others whether it’s on the court, in the program or in the community. He puts others before himself in everything he does.”

    Harper had many other offers across the country, including powerhouses like Duke, Kansas, Indiana and Auburn. 

    Dylan Harper on court

    Dylan Harper looks on during the Pangos All-American Camp on June 5, 2022 at the Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Harper’s older brother, Ron Harper Jr., also provided some insight on Rutgers to his younger brother, having starred there for four seasons before heading to the NBA. 

    “His advice to me was to pick a school that is best for me and make it your decision,” Harper explained. “I saw what a great player my brother was there and how successful Rutgers was during that time. He had a great career there. He was one of the best to play at Rutgers.”

    Harper Jr. averaged 12.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists over 121 games in four seasons, including his best year with 15.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 32 starts for the Scarlet Knights his senior year two seasons ago. He now plays for the Toronto Raptors. 

    Harper’s play as a 6-foot-5 combo guard is one of explosiveness, where he can score from virtually anywhere. He averaged 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the NY Rens in the Nike EYBL circuit. 

    Dylan Harper looks on court

    Dylan Harper looks on during the Pangos All-American Festival on August 27, 2022 at the McBride High School in Long Beach, CA. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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    He’s also represented the country for the FIBA U19 World Cup, averaging 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two games. 

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