In the months leading up to the 2021-’22 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a series called the ‘BTPowerhouse 25,’ which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Ron Harper, Jr. of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who came in at No. 12 in the rankings. The Scarlet Knights are hoping to build off last year’s NCAA Tournament this season and get back in the top 25 picture.
'BTPowerhouse 25' - No. 11 Ron Harper, Jr.:
- Eligibility: Senior
- Career Totals: 89 games, 2,425 minutes, 1,018 points, 434 rebounds, 109 assists, 61 steals
- 2020-’21 Averages: 32.0 MPG, 14.9 PPG, 1.6 APG, 5.9 RPG, 0.7 SPG
- Positional Role: Forward
After five years of rebuilding, Steve Pikiell and the Scarlet Knights finally broke through last year, making the NCAA Tournament and putting together a 16-12 resume and Harper was a big part of that success. The team now returns most of last year’s roster and will be hoping to keep things rolling with Harper leading things on the wing.
Harper is a physical player that makes an impact on both sides of the floor. He can clean up the boards, pressure opponents, and does a good job of making smart plays, avoiding fouls and turnovers. In fact, he ranked among the top 25 players in the Big Ten in turnover rate and fouls committed per 40 minutes last season.
Additionally, Harper is a solid interior player offensively. He gets in the paint and does damage once there, shooting 52.4 percent from two-point range last season. He also shot 76.4 percent from the free throw line. Harper is also athletic enough to run the floor when needed.
-Areas for Improvement
Like a good hunk of the players on this list, Harper is at the point of his career where “he is what he is.” Yes, there is some improvement to be had, but he’s probably going to be roughly the same player we’ve seen the last few years. He’s now an upperclassmen who’s played plenty of minutes so far. We know the player we’re getting.
If Harper can improve, the best area to do it will be from deep. He remains an underwhelming shooter and only shot 31.0 percent from three last season. Harper could also improve at drawing fouls. While he was a monster from two-point range, he was 36th in the Big Ten in free throw rate. And given his proficiency from the charity stripe, that’s a spot where even a modest improvement could have a big impact.
While Rutgers isn’t getting quite as much hype this season as it did last year, the Scarlet Knights figure to be a feisty team in contention for another postseason bid. A big part of that effort will come from Harper, who should be one of the team’s key offensive options yet again. He and Geo Baker will lead the way.
Harper will likely put up numbers similar to what he’s done over the last few years. Expect him and Baker to dominate the team’s offensive production. If all goes well, he should be in contention to crack the second All-Big Ten team.
'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings:
- #26-27 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Moussa Diabate (Michigan)
- #24 - Donta Scott (Maryland)
- #22 - Justice Sueing (Ohio State)
- #22 - Max Christie (Michigan State)
- #20 - Miller Kopp (Indiana)
- #20 - Connor McCaffery (Iowa)
- #19 - Zach Edey (Purdue)
- #18 - Tyson Walker (Michigan State)
- #17 - Eli Brooks (Michigan)
- #16 - Keegan Murray (Iowa)
- #14 - Kyle Young (Ohio State)
- #14 - Andre Curbelo (Illinois)
- #12 - Caleb Houstan (Michigan)
- #12 - Trent Frazier (Illinois)
- #11 - Ron Harper (Rutgers)
- #10 - To Be Continued ...