2017-18 SEC Player Preview: Jared Harper

In Features by Ken Cross

Jared Harper had an excellent freshman season as he immediately became the facilitator for Auburn’s offense and in addition, became one of the team’s primary scorers.

Harper’s excellent handles were well-documented during freshman season, and he accentuated those skills on the Tigers’ Italian tour this summer in averaging seven assists per game. 

His biggest assets are his excellence off the dribble and his overall decision making. 

The key, going forward, will be his ability to mature within the system as well as handling situations that may come up within a game.

Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl would most likely want Harper to pick up his scoring averages while continuing to develop his leadership role.

Inside the Numbers

Harper started 30 of 32 games a year ago while shooting 38.5 percent from the floor as well as 34.5 percent from the line. 

He raised eyebrows even further in last season’s 88-85 loss at Ole Miss when he scored 16 of Auburn’s final 19 points and brought them from down 12 in a 24-point outing vs. the Rebels. 

Harper had three games where he made five triples while making 50-of-113 two-point shots.  He was second in free throw attempts with 146 and connected on 70.5 percent of those.

He was the SEC Freshman of the Week twice as he had 22 points in making the game winning layup against Connecticut plus a 21-point outing in a win over Oklahoma.

Ken Says….

Harper was a stable presence in his first season as he played 24.2 minutes per outing and learned on the job. 

He continually figured out how to set up his game and was able to draw fouls and get to the line.  That made him an even greater threat on offense, and the percentage and trips should grow as he asserts himself off the dribble even more this season.

According to kenpom.com, Harper played 23.1 percent of the possessions and led Auburn in steals. 

As Pearl works to improve this defense and potentially use more pressure schemes, an elite 4-star point guard is a must. 

The key is that quickness in forcing more turnovers while using those ball skills to set up his teammates as well as himself off the dribble – think Isaiah Thomas of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

If plays up to his potential and becomes even more of a leader on the court for the Tigers, Harper should be in store for a solid sophomore season.

 

Ken Cross has a plethora of experience over a 20-plus year period in both print and broadcast journalism. He has worked in some capacity for ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Sporting News Radio, Yahoo! Sports Radio and many more. He’s currently the founder and editor of CollegeHoopsWatch.com and the co-host of the Marching to Madness podcast.