AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn sophomore guard Jared Harper has elected to withdraw his name from the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft and return for his junior season with the Tigers, Harper announced Tuesday afternoon.
“It was a great opportunity to showcase my talents in front of NBA personnel,” Harper said. “I received great feedback and feel as though my game has gone up another level. With that said, after talking to my family and coaches, I have decided to return for my junior season at Auburn.”
In his second season as the floor general, Harper dished out 185 assists in 2017-18, tied for the fourth-highest total in a single season with Gerald White in 1984-85.
The Tigers tallied 481 points off assists from Harper and scored 81.9 points per game – the highest by an Auburn team since 1991-92.
“There was tremendous debate last year who our most outstanding player was,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Jared Harper, Bryce Brown and Mustapha Heron were all recognized as recipients of the Paul Lambert/Tommy Joe Eagles Award at our season-ending banquet. But, Jared was the player we could least do without. The transformation he made from his freshman to his sophomore year as a playmaker, leader and floor general enabled us to separate ourselves from the rest of the league.”
Harper racked up 27 games in double figures, including 17 of 18 contests in SEC play, as he increased his points per game from 11.4 in 2016-17 to 13.2 this past campaign.
The Mableton, Ga. native buried 166 free throws during the course of the 2017-18 season. His mark is the fourth-highest by a Tiger all-time and he is one of just two players to be in the top 10 in single-season free throws and also make at least 50 3-pointers (KT Harrell).
For his efforts, Harper was named Second Team All-SEC by the Associated Press and the Southeastern Conference coaches. He was also tabbed All-District IV by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).
With Harper as the point guard, the Tigers won their third SEC title in program history behind a 26-8 overall record, including a 13-5 mark in league play. Auburn also received a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003.