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Five-star Dylan Harper adds to Rutgers’ historic top-three class

There have been a number of firsts at Rutgers since hiring Steve Pikiell seven seasons ago.

First bid to the NCAA Tournament in 31 years. First tournament win since 1983. This is the first time Rutgers has advanced to the postseason in three consecutive seasons.

You could argue that this is his biggest accomplishment at a Big Ten school. That means being in the top three in your recruiting class.

With the addition of five-star guard Dylan Harper on Wednesday afternoon, the Scarlet Knights now have Harper (No. 2) and Ace Bailey (No. 3) among the top three nationally ranked players next year, according to 247Sports.com. , a 6-foot-8-inch eccentric athlete from Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Piscataway, New Jersey will be a popular spot for NBA scouts and media personnel. Next year, Rutgers will become a national program.

“This is a pretty remarkable class they’ve put together,” said Travis Branham, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.com. “Obviously we got one of the best players in the country in Dylan Harper, and we obviously got one of the best long-term prospects in high school history in Ace Bailey. is one, and the number of stars is the same. [for them]”

These two coveted recruits are the highest-rated prospects to draft Rutgers in program history.

Dylan Harper chose to stick with him when he chose Rutgers. Daniel Fritz

They are joined in a blockbuster class by top-200 recruits three-star Lathan Somerville, Bryce Dortch and Dylan Grant.

Bailey and Harper will likely both be selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game.

The last player hired at Rutgers was Mike Rosario in 2008.

Harper is ranked No. 2 among recruits in the 2024 class. Daniel Fritz

The 6-foot-4 son of five-time NBA champion Ron Harper chose Rutgers over elite suitors from Duke to Kansas and Indiana to Auburn.

While the school has been able to garner competitive name, image, and likeness (NIL) numbers through its connections with booster and sneaker companies, Harper has been able to garner more from either of the aforementioned programs. It is believed that the company could have obtained more funds.

Harper, a star at Don Bosco Prep (New Jersey), chose to stay close to home and play at the same school as his older brother Ron Harper Jr.

JaMichael Davis’ presence at Rutgers likely influenced Harper’s commitment. AP

Pikiell and the coaching staff went everywhere to see Harper, even going to Hungary to watch him play at the FIBA ​​U19 World Cup. There was already a connection between the family and Rutgers.

Mr. Bailey’s involvement first materialized in January last year, and it came as something of a surprise. He was not from this area. There were similar top schools after him.

Several factors worked in Rutgers’ favor. As an example, his best friend, Jamechael Davis, is currently a freshman at the school. Associate head coach Brandin Knight was very close to his family.

Steve Pikiell currently has commitments from two of next year’s top three recruits. AP

“In recruiting, you have to play the cards you’re dealt,” Branum said. “Teams like Rutgers are dealt cards that will never play to their ability to take the No. 2 or No. 3 player in the country, and that’s what happened. So we’re going to make the most of this opportunity honestly and have both sides Kudos to them for signing this contract.”

An NBA scout, speaking on condition of anonymity, believes Bailey is more likely to be a one-time lottery pick than Harper, but many experts expect both to be a possibility. There is.

“Ace is a much more interesting prospect due to his physical and athletic ability, as well as his up-and-coming skills and defensive potential,” the scout said.

Harper isn’t expected to be an accomplished college player, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise to scouts either. Daniel Fritz

As for Harper, scouts said he is improving as a facilitator and has a high basketball IQ.

He’s making those around him better, but he still needs to work on his jump shot and defense.

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