A two-time member of the All-Big 10 team, Ron Harper Jr put his skillset together as a senior at Rutgers. On the year, he averaged 15.8 PPG, 6 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 0.6 BPG, and 1.6 TOPG on shooting splits of 44/40/80. Below is his full scouting report:
Name: Ron Harper Jr
Height/Weight: 6’5 ½ / 240
Wingspan/ standing reach: 7’1 ¼ / 8’9 ½
Hand size: 10
College/ country: Rutgers
Tools: Shooting, frame
- Plus shooter off the dribble in mid range
- Plus off-ball shooting; good shooting touch
- Quick footwork on spot-up jumpers
- Adequate finisher at the rim
- Strong, NBA ready body
- Simple, but effective passing vision
- Excellent frame with big hands
- Deep range on his jump shot
- Growing between the legs into jumper move
- Lacks explosiveness
- Mild on-ball defender
- Falls asleep off-ball or ball-watches defensively at times
- Needs to improve ball handling, particularly in tightening handle in traffic
- Needs to use left hand at
- Mechanics became inconsistent throughout junior year
- Low release on jumper with big dip; may struggle shooting vs length at times
- Needs to get more comfortable driving left
Ron Harper Jr is an NBA legacy with off-ball prowess offensively as a jump shooter with a great frame.
As a shooter, Harper has deep range and moves well off-ball to get to his spots, and uses his flaws in his shot to his advantage with a strong up-fake against closeouts. His weaknesses as a shooter, a low release with a big dip, can be made up with his lightning quick release from feet to hands. With borderline elite quickness in getting set into his shot and a growing skillset as a ball-handler, Harper should be able to create his own 3 point shots in one or two dribbles on his own. Harper may be best served playing against smaller lineups to limit his shortcomings in shooting against length at times. For teams needing shooting and off-ball movers, Harper checks many boxes as a shooting threat with versatility to over-match smaller players, while forcing bigger players out of the paint because of his shooting gravity pulling help defense into him.
Overall offensively, Harper’s game improved a lot as a senior. On my scouting notes in this report I have been building since his sophomore year, many of the bullet points became outdated because of his significant improvement as a senior. For example, he had a very basic handle, but has since added a behind the back move in the pick & roll on the perimeter, and a lethally quick between the legs into a jumper move. While his passing is still mostly basic, he is still a low-turnover player that excels at simple passes without trying to do too much. The significant improvements and excellent NBA Draft Combine measurements make him a riser both on my board and many others’ boards.
Defensively, Harper has mediocre footspeed, but the hope is that his length can help counter that in order to stay in plays and get useful shot contests. As an off-ball defender, Harper needs to get better at navigating screens, especially when chasing shooters. Additionally, he falls asleep or ball-watches off-ball, forcing him to take the first route to the ball he sees. If he can eliminate mental lapses off-ball, he may be able to be smarter in how he closes out with his long arms. As of now, the combination of his underwhelming footspeed and off-ball defensive lapses make him a negative defensive projection early in his career.
Harper ultimately draws comparisons most closely to Jordan Nwora, both in eye test and role. His jump shot looks eerily similar, and his strengths and weaknesses have multiple overlaps. Harper, the son of Chicago Bulls veteran Ron Harper, and Jordan Nwora, a coach’s son, both have deep basketball bloodlines and come from sharp basketball IQ families. If Harper can improve as a defender with his excellent frame, he could safely carve out a role as a 3&D wing that can also score a bit off the dribble, particularly attacking closeouts.
Similar to: Jordan Nwora, Keith Bogans, Linas Kleiza
Projected draft range: 2nd round/Undrafted
Expected role: Bench shooter
Unplayable if: Shooting inconsistency never becomes outgrown, and finishing/lack of explosiveness limit his offense
Exceeds expectations if: Shooting translates and he becomes a passable defender and confident scorer near the rim off of cuts.