Magic forward Justin Harper, who stands six feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 235 pounds, will be the star of this year’s Orlando Magic Basketball Camp.
The second-year player, out of the University of Richmond, will be the most popular basketball player since Vince Carter to touch down on Cayman.
Harper was drafted with the 32nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, then traded to the Magic in the following days. Despite his low seed in the draft, Harper is a huge talent with untapped potential. His size and quickness make him a very tough match-up, guards aren’t able to overpower him and low post players aren’t able to keep up with him, he presents a match-up nightmare that could very easily be utilized by any NBA team.
Harper had a successful career at Richmond, he’s a rare college product that stayed the full four years before declaring for the NBA draft. He appeared in 137 college games with his senior year being his best. He started all 37 games and proved to be the star and obvious leader of the Richmond Spiders.
He averaged a very solid 17.9 points per game, while pulling down 6.6 rebounds a game too. He led the Spiders to the Atlantic 10 championship that season, making sure his collegiate career ended with a bang. After his graduation, Harper was named to the First Team All-Atlantic 10, ranking fifth in all-time three-pointers made, seventh in blocked shots and 11th in points scored. Very good career totals for a 6’10 forward with handles like a point guard.
Then came a stint overseas before starting his rookie campaign with the Orlando Magic. He was a member of Strasbourg IG in France’s top pro league, averaging a very respectable 13ppg and 6.6rpg. Harper improved overseas and came back to join the Magic during the season, he showed up in an April affair against the Memphis Grizzlies, finishing with 16 points, seven rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist. He tallied numbers across the board and showed why he was in the NBA.
Harper competed in the Orlando Pro Summer League earlier this summer, he finished the league being the second-leading scorer on the team and earned an honourable mention for the All-Summer League team.
Harper has found himself in a very interesting situation. With Dwight Howard stealing all the Magic headlines via trade requests, there could be a pile of minutes waiting for him on the court. Harper is one of the more versatile players on the Magic roster and because of his ability to play inside and out, handle the ball, post up and find the open man, he could very well find himself being a key contributor for the Magic in this year’s season.
Only time will tell whether or not that holds true, but one thing is for sure: Harper’s potential is sky-high and, if he gets the playing time and continues his hard work, there’s nothing stopping him from becoming a star in years to come.