The highlights Dylan Harper is bringing to Rutgers (1:39)Check out some highlight plays from Rutgers commit Dylan Harper, the No. 2 player in ESPN's 2024 rankings. (1:39)
Dylan Harper, the No. 2 prospect in the 2024 class and the top uncommitted senior in the country, announced his commitment to Rutgers on Wednesday -- giving the Scarlet Knights two of the top three recruits in the country and the No. 2 overall recruiting class.
Harper, a 6-foot-5 guard from Don Bosco Prep (New Jersey), chose Steve Pikiell's program over a final list that also included Duke, Kansas, Indiana and Auburn. He joins a recruiting class that already included Airious "Ace" Bailey, who is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN 100 and signed with the Scarlet Knights during the early signing period last month.
"I have a deep connection with the staff over a long period of time," Harper told 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."
Harper is the younger brother of former Rutgers star Ron Harper Jr., who now plays for the Toronto Raptors. Harper Jr. was a two-time All-Big Ten selection during his four years at Rutgers and he led the Scarlet Knights to two NCAA tournament appearances, breaking the program's 30-year tourney drought.
"His advice to me was to pick a school that is best for me and make it your decision," Harper said. "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."
Rutgers made Harper a priority early in the 2024 recruiting cycle and was relentless in its pursuit of the in-state guard. Pikiell and his staff were in attendance at nearly every one of his games last spring and summer.
"I have been around him and the program for such a long time. No one works harder at his job than Coach Pikiell," Harper said. "He 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."
To put the commitments of Harper and Bailey into context, before this class, Rutgers had landed just six total ESPN 100 prospects since the ESPN men's basketball recruiting database began in 2007. Only one player was ranked inside the top 50: Mike Rosario, who was No. 16 in 2008.
And now the Scarlet Knights have commitments from two of the top three seniors in high school basketball.
"I believe with our recruiting class and returning players we can help Rutgers win, get to the NCAA tournament and make a deep run," Harper said. "I feel like my game is something they are missing. I will be playing with some other really good players. The RAC is a great environment for playing your home games."
Harper was one of the most productive players on the Nike EYBL circuit during the grassroots season last spring and summer, averaging 19.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the NY Rens program -- including a triple-double against Pro Skills, when he recorded 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He also represented USA Basketball at the FIBA U19 World Cup, where he started two games and averaged 9.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists.
The guard is fundamentally sound and a hard worker. He has size and strength for the guard position. Harper can knock down open shots with consistency inside the arc and is a legitimate 3-point shooter. His playmaking abilities and leadership shine when operating in ball-screen offense or running a team. Harper understands how to create and find scoring opportunities for his teammates. He had a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio, according to Synergy. Harper participated at the Curry camp in August, standing out alongside elite high school prospects. Camp director Brandon Payne, who also works as Steph Curry's trainer, was impressed.
"He displays a pro mindset and plays within himself," Payne said. "His skill level is greater than his athletic ability. He has the personality traits of a leader. He screams winner."
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