Former Miami University Guard Shines In NBA Finals

Updated 6/12/2000
Ron Harper, who left Miami University as the Mid-American Conference's all-time leading scorer with 2,377 points from 1983-1986, has elevated his game and become a key contributor to the Lakers' success in the NBA Finals.

Winning championships is something Harper knows a lot about. While at Miami, he was part of two MAC regular season championship teams, won a MAC Tournament crown and made the NCAA Tournament three times (1984-85-86).

Harper, a key role player for three NBA champion Chicago Bulls teams in 1996, 1997 and 1998 under coach Phil Jackson, has contributed to the Lakers' success immensely in the 1999-2000 season, contributing seven points, four rebounds and nearly four assists a game in the regular season. However, the post-season is when he has truly showed his worth.

The 14-year NBA veteran turned in a stellar defensive performance against Reggie Miller in game one, when the Pacers star missed 15 of 16 shots. Then the 36-year-old turned in a clutch offensive showing in game two with a season-high 21 points Friday, picking up the slack when Kobe Bryant went down with an injury.

"Somehow I found some energy," Harper said to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I just came out and did the things I had to do. We are a team that is trying to do something here, so whenever a guy gets hurt, we need to have guys who step into his spot."

Harper followed with 14 points in Sunday's narrow Lakers loss to the Pacers in game three, including a three-pointer to pull the Lakers within three points with 15 seconds left in the game at Conseco Fieldhouse.

"I am dreaming," Harper said. "It's just a big dream. I'm just doing my job. I'm just doing whatever they ask me to do. Ron Harper's just an old guy trying to hold on."

The Lakers are holding on to a 2-1 series lead in the Finals, and they'll need continued contributions from Harper and his teammates if they are to get Harper a fourth NBA Championship ring.