No. 2-ranked senior Dylan Harper commits to Rutgers, becoming highest-rated recruit in program history | Zagsblog
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Wednesday / February 28.
  • No. 2-ranked senior Dylan Harper commits to Rutgers, becoming highest-rated recruit in program history

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    NEW YORK — Rutgers finally landed its man.

    Dylan Harper, the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2024, announced his commitment to his home state university during a press conference Wednesday at the Fanatics headquarters on the lower West Side of Manhattan. He is the highest-rated recruit in program history.

    The 6-foot-6 combo guard out of Don Bosco Prep (NJ) also considered Duke, Indiana, Auburn and Kansas, but instead opted for Rutgers, where his older brother, Ron Harper Jr. starred before beginning his pro career in the Toronto Raptors organization. Their father, Ron Harper Sr., won five NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.

    “Next year I will be going to college to Rutgers University,” he announced with Jalen Rose at the Fanatics headquarters after ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news on social media.

    USA Basketball youth coach Don Showalter told ZAGSBLOG:

    “Dylan is an elite skilled player that combines his strong skill set with a high level of competitiveness. Dylan is extremely unselfish and can affect the outcome of a game without scoring. He makes his teammates better along with being coachable. Dylan has a bright future ahead of him!”

    This past summer, Harper helped lead the NY Rens to the semifinals of the prestigious Nike Peach Jam. He ranked second in scoring at 21.2 points per game (on 52.1 percent shooting) to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

    “Dylan Harper is a special talent,” said NY Rens executive director Oz Cross. “He’s a 3-level scorer with elite court vision. He’s a willing defender and arguably the best rebounding guard in the country. He’s a great teammate and extremely hard worker. He’s going to contribute to wins right away in college.”

    With his commitment, Rutgers now has the No. 2-ranked class nationally per ESPN and No. 3 according to 247Sports.com.

    Harper joins five-star wing Ace Bailey, his close friend who has been recruiting him all along, and three star forwards Bryce Dortch, Dylan Grant, and Lathan Somerville.

    Asked about comparisons to Rose and the Michigan Fab 5, Harper said. “We’re gonna be better than the Fab 5….The goal is definitely national championship.”

    Harper said he considered other schools on his list but wanted to stay home and play for the local school, adding that Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell and his staff have believed in him from the start.

    ‘There’s Duke, Kentucky,UConn – -all the big programs — but why not be a trailblazer and stay home?’” he said.

    Asked about NIL opportunities at other schools being better, he said, ‘I didn’t care about money. Money was never the main thing.”

    After he committed, Harper called Bailey and put him on speakerphone.

    “Man, its going to be crazy, it’s going to be big,” Bailey said. “Two of the top players in 2024, it’s fitting to be crazy.”

    Both Bailey and Harper are projected lottery picks in 2025, meaning they might not be at Rutgers for that long. Bailey is the projected No. 2 pick and Harper is No. 5, per Bleacher Report. Duke commit Cooper Flagg is projected at No. 1.

    “NBA scouts will admire Dylan Harper’s versatility as a 6’5″ scorer who can also run point and set up teammates,” Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman wrote

    “In 16 EYBL games in the spring, he ranked third in assists before finishing second in scoring during Peach Jam. Harper similarly gave USA’s U19 team a mix of rim pressure and playmaking at 17 years old this summer in Hungary.

    “Putting the ball in the basket is still his signature strength, and Harper does it using more IQ, timing, body-controlled finishes and tough shot-making over quick bursts or explosion. With a solid frame and comfort level playing through contact, Harper may eventually be able to play some 3 and 4 down the road.

    “His three-point development will be closely monitored, but Harper is effective enough in the other key areas to remain highly coveted from now until June 2025.”

    Led by Pikiell and associate head coach Brandin Knight, Rutgers has been following Harper around the country — and the world — for the last several years.

    Rutgers was four-deep courtside for multiple games at Peach Jam in July after doing the same at a high school game against Camden in January. Pikiell and Knight attended games as local as Roselle Catholic and as far as Hungary.

    Now they have their man.

    WHO’S LEFT ON THE BOARD?

    Harper’s commitment leaves several elite players still on the board, most notably five-star Long Island Lutheran and Austin Rivers Elite guard V.J. Edgecombe.

    A projected top-5 pick in 2025, Edgecombe is being pursued by a slew of big-time schools, including Kentucky, Duke and St. John’s.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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