Derek Harper

Derek Harper

NBA Biography
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Derek Harper

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Derek Ricardo Harper (born October 13, 1961 in Elberton, Georgia) is a retired American professional basketball player from the University of Illinois, who spent 16 seasons as a point guard in the National Basketball Association with the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.


After graduating from Roosevelt Junior High School and then North Shore High School in West Palm Beach, Harper played three seasons for the Fighting Illini and coach Lou Henson having his best season in 1982–1983, when he led the Fighting Illini in scoring with 15.4 points per game. Harper was named First-Team All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-American in 1983, and was Honorable Mention All-Big Ten in both 1981 and 1982. Harper averaged 4.7 assists per game for his collegiate career, and led the Big Ten in assists in the 1981–1982 season. Harper was elected to the "Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team" in 2004.


At 6-4, Harper was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 11th overall pick of the 1983 NBA Draft and spent his first ten seasons with them, averaging 15 points and 6.1 assists. In the 1984 playoffs, he made a critical error when he didn't know the game was tied and he dribbled out the clock sending the game to overtime against the Los Angeles Lakers. However, Harper had his redemption when he hit a clutch shot against the Lakers two years later in the 1986 playoffs. He was traded to the New York Knicks 28 games into...
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