Ryan Harp logs more than his share of miles driving from his Abilene home in west Texas to weekly AAU practices with his team in Dallas (DeSoto, to be specific). 360 miles round trip each Wednesday, just for practices, ought to be travel enough for the Cooper High School shooting guard. But that is only the tip of the iceberg when examining Harp's travels this spring and summer. After attending three in-state tournaments during the closely watched evaluation period of April, Harp and the Texas Top Prospects squad are criss-crossing the nation.
They made their way to North Carolina at the end of May for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. Thus far in June the Dallas-based AAU squad has also played in New York at the Rumble in the Bronx and last weekend in Austin at the Great American Shootout. At the Rumble, Harp's team finished second in their pool before losing in the opener of bracket play, and he individually picked up all-tournament honors. The Texas Top Prospects did more damage at the GASO, going 5-1 and losing only in the semifinals as they ran out of gas against the San Antonio Spurs squad. Harp scored well in several of his games, including 18 points in the opener, 19 points against the Houston Lynx and 15 points in the finale.
Maybe the most notable travel for Harp, however, came immediately following the Bob Gibbons. He took the opportunity while on the East Coast to hit Wake Forest, Virginia and Richmond for unofficial visits.
"They had already been recruiting me, so I might as well visit these schools," Harp comments. "It gave them a chance where they could speak to me in person and clarify where I am with recruiting. They also could tell me first-hand how they do things and how they operate at their school."
In-person encounters are also good for candor and clarity with respect to the schools' recruitment of a prospect on campus. Harp walked away with a better understanding of where his pair of ACC suitors stand with him.
"They both told me about the same thing," he reports. "They want to watch me more in the summer at these tournaments, but I am a type of player they want to get."
Another school where Harp will be visiting, sooner or later, is Stanford. The Cardinal have been recruiting the 6'4" Abilene shooter in earnest for a good year, and all along there has been an eye toward an unofficial visit to The Farm this summer. While that trip was thought to perhaps come in August, it may instead come just around the corner.
"We were talking with Coach [Donny] Guerinoni about it, and they would really love for me to come up to their camp next week," Harp says. "We're going to try to go up there if possible. I don't know exactly how, but we're going to try."
"It would give me a first-hand chance to work with the coaches. I could look all around and hang out with the players," he adds. "If it's not possible, then I'll go up there in August definitely."
Fitting in a Stanford sojourn is no easy trick with Harp's busy schedule upcoming. In addition to his Wednesday practices in Dallas, he will camp at TCU this Saturday, play at the heavily attended Denton Great American Shootout at the start of July, then zip out to Las Vegas for the Main Event, and finish the evaluation period with either a tournament in Los Angeles or Kansas.
With so much travel in July, Harp is hoping he can finish his Stanford admissions application in the coming days.
"I'm about to mail it out," he forecasts. "I have the basic information section done and I'm working on the essays. I have a couple of the recommendations, and I've called a few people and just need to meet with them to take care of the others.
"I got all A's except an 89 in precalc," Harp reports of his recently concluded spring semester grades. "I know know why. I thought I was going to get an A. I had a 3.6 [cumulative] GPA at the end of the first semester, and now I have almost exactly a 3.7."
Harp also received his May SAT score since we last spoke with him, notching a 1020 on the combined math and reading sections. He quickly retook the standardized test earlier this month and should in the next few days have that score.
"Hopefully I did a lot better," Harp offers. "If I didn't, then I'll just take it again. My GPA is fine. I just need to get my SAT score up. It's the reading section where I really need to improve. That's what is most important to Stanford."
And Stanford remains important to Ryan Harp, as measured by both his words and his actions. When asked for his current favorites, it is no surprise that the Cardinal are again the first off his lips.
Harp adds that he hopes to make unofficial trips to Evanston and Tempe later this summer. With visits to all of his favorites soon to be in the books, it is not hard to see what this recruit is gearing to accomplish.
"I think I want to make my commitment by the beginning of school," Harp opines. "I'd like to go play and finish out the summer, and then make a decision before school starts."
That commitment horizon is not far away, and a bustle of activity between now and then will greatly shape the Cooper High School standout's recruiting outlook. Harp is a recruit to watch closely for all these upcoming events and news, and we will keep abreast of his activities for you as best we can. Stay tuned.
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