AUBURN, Alabama–Jared harper, the point guard who played a key role in Auburn’s run to the Final Four of the 2019 NCAA basketball tournament, plays for the NBA New York Knicks these days, but when he has time to returning to Auburn, he notes that this is something he loves.
Harper, with the help of a group of coaches, hosted a three-day skills camp for area kids this week.
“It was a great experience for me to come back to Auburn,” said Harper. “I still feel the family atmosphere in Auburn so having my first camp in this community was great.”
When asked what he wants a gym full of campers to learn during camp, the pro player said, “Just to enjoy it and have fun is the most important thing. I would love to see the campers come every day and improve by working on the little things I worked on when I was young, and still work on today.
“I have the impression that they definitely learned something throughout the camp, whether it was through the dribbling drills, the defensive drills or the shooting drills that they mastered better,” he said. declared. “It’s the most important thing for me. I want to get the message across that it is important to try to improve every day.
On the second day of camp before lunch, Harper lined up in the middle of the field for three hits and told the campers if he could make any of the three attempts it would be free burgers and hot dogs for all children. Harper succeeded in his second attempt and sparked a great cheer from the participants, who seemed to have a lot of fun learning from one of the best players in Auburn hoops history.
When asked if he is still passionate about the sport he has played his entire life, Harper replied. “Oh, sure. I don’t know of any basketball player from Auburn who has come back and made a camp in the community, so I feel like it was special for me to be one of the people involved in the camp.
The professional player held his camp at the Lee-Scott Academy, where Auburn’s current director of basketball operations, Chad Prewett, won several state basketball coaching and track championships. before joining the staff of Coach Bruce Pearl.
Harper noted that he enjoyed coming back to spend time with Pearl, his team as well as current and former players like Bryce Brown and Horace Spencer, who were also at Auburn this week.
“I try to come back as much as I can,” said Harper. “With my schedule, it’s not always easy, but when I have a few days off, I like to come back. I did this a few weeks ago when my high school team played in the (Bruce Pearl’s) team camp. I was able to visit the coaches and some players.
The playmaker is focused on gaining more playing time with the Knicks for the 2021-22 season. “I’m just trying to improve myself as an overall player,” he said. “I continue to work to improve myself to hit further. This is what I have been working on before next season so that I can do better.
Now that he’s had a taste of life in the NBA, Harper is eager to stay in the top basketball league. “It was really what I expected and it’s a dream come true,” he said. “It’s a weird feeling when you spend your whole life working for your dream and you wake up everyday and live it. It’s a lesson in humility and a great feeling.
Harper also stopped by to see Pearl’s Auburn 2021-22 team during a summer practice. The squad includes a newcomer, five-star forward Jabari Smith, who is expected to be one of the SEC’s top freshmen this year. “I think they looked good and I’ve known Jabari (Smith) for a few years because he played for my dad’s AAU team,” Harper said. “I loved watching him grow up and come to Auburn. I am excited about the great things the team will be able to do this year.
Harper added that he was happy with the way the first camp he organized went. “I’m glad I was able to come here and do it and I’m glad we had a good turnout and everyone had a good time.”