NEW YORK – Dylan Harper has decided to stay in his home state, and this son of a five-time NBA champion could help change the face of college basketball in New Jersey and beyond.
The 6-foot-6 All-American from Don Bosco Prep committed Wednesday to Rutgers, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Ron Jr., who starred for the Scarlet Knights before heading to the NBA.
“Next year I’ll be going to college at Rutgers University,” Harper said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference in lower Manhattan’s Greenwich Village while surrounded by family and friends.
Harper can make a monumental impact at Rutgers. He is ranked the No. 2 recruit in the nation by 247 Sports, Rivals.com and ESPN. He chose the Scarlet Knights over a final-five list that included Duke, Indiana, Kansas and Auburn. He can sign his official national letter of intent starting April 17.
Harper strengthens a Rutgers recruiting class that is ranked among the nation’s top 10 and includes 6-8 forward Ace Bailey (Powder Springs HS, Ga.).
Coach Steve Pikiell’s Scarlet Knights are 5-2 entering Wednesday night’s game at Wake Forest.
During an exclusive interview with NorthJersey.com in October, Harper said he had no timetable for his commitment, and that “I think it will be when I feel most comfortable committing and knowing when the right opportunity is.” His announcement comes the week before the start of his senior season.
Harper hails from a well-known basketball family. His father, Ron, played 15 seasons in the NBA (1986-2001) and won a combined five NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
Harper’s older brother, Ron. Jr., paced Don Bosco to two state titles, led Rutgers to two NCAA tournaments, and is in his second NBA season with the Toronto Raptors. His mom, Maria, played collegiately at New Orleans and is a veteran assistant coach at Don Bosco.
Harper is the most coveted basketball recruit to ever come out of football-crazed Bergen County. Don Bosco is known nationwide for football, won two mythical national championships, and New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito is an alum of the all-boys parochial school in Ramsey.
Last season, Harper played almost every position on both ends of the floor while leading Don Bosco to a 26-3 record. The left-hander averaged 25 points, six rebounds and three assists and paced the Ironmen to the Bergen County title.
Harper and Don Bosco can challenge this season for county, sectional and state titles and they tip off Dec. 14 at home against defending State Group 4 champion Eastside.