Dylan Harper: ‘I have a very unique game that most people don’t have, most people don’t ever see’

Dylan Harper was born to play basketball. His father, Ron Harper, is a five-time NBA champion who played alongside Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant. Currently ranked as a Top 5 prospect in the 2025 NBA Draft, Harper sat down with HoopsHype after a recent practice at the Nike Hoop Summit to talk about his influence from his parents, NBA players he tries to emulate, flying under the radar amongst his peers, and more.

How has it been for you being at the Nike Hoop Summit?

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Getty Images

Dylan Harper: Great time. Honestly the best 12, just coming here showcasing what we made of, our bond is very great.

Does that add another level of competitive nature just being out here? Has your confidence grown these last couple of days?

DH: Definitely more competitive. I think more intense. It was intense at McDonald’s, but I think this is a whole another level. The way we compete, and the way the coaches [tell us] there’s no sets, just go out there and hoop and try to win.

My confidence started off high from the beginning. Just being myself in any environment I’m in, just being myself at the end of the day.

What did you think of the competition, were these the best players you played with and against so far in your career?

RH: Yeah definitely. Actually, I think second. I went to play the U-19 last summer in Debrecen [Hungary]. Those were really grown men. People that been playing with each other for years. They’re all 19, 20. So for me, I think that was the biggest one.

You’ve sorta flown more under the radar than some of the other guys here like Cooper Flagg and Ace Bailey. Does that motivate you at all?

DH: I don’t really look at stuff like that. I just look at me being better at the gym everyday. Just attacking the next goal, the next challenge.

I’m always just worried about myself. Honestly, never really worried about the next man. I think it just comes from me. You don’t have to compare yourself to no one. You’re your own guy. I think I have a very unique game that most people don’t have, most people don’t ever see. So just always knowing that what I’m doing is what’s good for me and not looking for anything else.

Your parents have a ton of experience with basketball. Your mom playing collegiate and also as an assistant coach at your high school. And your father being Ron Harper... Can you talk about the wisdom and advice they gave you as you grew up?

Jersey Sports Zone
Jersey Sports Zone

DH: Just really keeping the main things in priority: school, basketball, family, stuff like that. Just blocking the outside world and focusing on what you need to do.

Your father Ron said that your grandparents drove you around a lot when you were growing up and you should return the favor by staying close and going to Rutgers. How big of a factor was being close to home for you in choosing Rutgers?

RH: Of course, family is one factor, but for me just picking the right school for me. Just going where you’re wanted. For me, just making sure I’m always happy where I’m at no matter what anyone else thinks for the decision I made for me.

Your older brother Ron Harper Jr. played at Rutgers and had a stint with the Toronto Raptors. What was it like having an older brother like you did? Was he sort of a blueprint you followed that has helped you overall in your own game?

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

DH: I think we both help each other. He tells me stuff I can do better, I tell him stuff he does wrong. So I think both of us just growing off each other, and learning are very special.

Who are some NBA players you try to emulate?

RH: Probably James Harden, Cade Cunningham, Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson. I think all big guards, strong guards get to their spots perfectly, just know how to hoop.

Jalen Brunson has really emerged the past couple years. Do you see a lot of similarities between your game and his?

John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

RH: I don’t think we have a lot of similarities. I think one thing is our motor, the way we control the game at a high level. Just make sure the balls always in our hands at the end of games no matter what.

Story originally appeared on HoopsHype