Jerry Harper

Jerry "Moose" Harper (August 4, 1934 – September 16, 2001)[1] was an American basketball player best known for his collegiate career at the University of Alabama between 1952 and 1956. Harper, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, was 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) and played the center and forward positions.[2]

Jerry Harper
Jerry Harper.jpg
Personal information
Born(1934-08-04)August 4, 1934
Louisville, Kentucky
DiedSeptember 16, 2001(2001-09-16) (aged 67)
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Career information
High schoolFlaget (Louisville, Kentucky)
CollegeAlabama (1952–1956)
NBA draft1956 / Round: 3 / Pick: 20th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
PositionCenter / Power forward
Number8, 88
Career history
1956–1957Houston Ada Oilers
1957–1958Phillips 66ers
Career highlights and awards

Decades later, Harper's 1,688 career rebounds still stands as the SEC all-time record and 8th overall in NCAA history.[3]

Harper was the #20 (3rd round) overall pick of the New York Knicks in the 1956 NBA Draft.

Playing careerEdit

In 1952–53, his freshman season, he was voted a second team All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) by the Associated Press (AP).[4] He averaged 17.8 points and 17.0 rebounds per game in 21 games played.[4] His sophomore year, Harper once again averaged 17.8 points per game, although his rebounds dipped to 14.9 per game in 24 games played.[4] The AP selected him to their All-SEC third team.[4] In Harper's final two seasons, he averaged 21.0 points and 19.0 rebounds for his junior year, and 22.3 points and 21.5 rebounds as a senior.[4] This rebounding mark still stands as the best in the history of the Southeastern Conference.[5]

Harper became the first Crimson Tide player to lead his team in scoring all four years en route to finishing with 1,861 for his career,[1] while his 1,688 career rebounds place him eighth all-time in the history of NCAA Division I men's basketball.[6] Harper was the first player in school history to average 20 or more points per game for a career, and in one game against Kentucky during his senior season, he scored 38 points and grabbed 26 rebounds.[5] That game, which the Crimson Tide won 101–77, was the first time Kentucky had ever allowed 100 or more points.[5]

In 1954–55 and 1955–56, Harper was selected as a first team All-American.[2] These squads became known as the famed "Rocket 8" teams, with Harper guiding the latter to the 1956 Southeastern Conference championship.[5] His 517 rebounds that year are a still-standing Alabama record.[7]

After college, Harper was selected in the 1956 NBA Draft by the New York Knickerbockers with the #20 overall pick (3rd round).[8] But he never ended up playing in the league.[9] Instead, he played for the Houston Ada Oilers and the Phillips 66ers of the AAU National Industrial Basketball League (AAU), which was still a semi-professional league at the time.[5] An injury prematurely ended his career.[5]


Harper was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.[10]


Harper worked for Phillips Petroleum until he relocated to Montgomery, Alabama, where he went into business for the remainder of his career.[11] He died of a longstanding illness on September 16, 2001 at age 67.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Jerry Harper (Class of 2001)". Basketball. Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). All-time Lettermen. University of Alabama Athletics. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 12, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e "2018–19 Men's Basketball Media Guide" (PDF). University of Alabama Athletics. 2018. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Alabama Legends & Ambassadors". Alabama Tourism Department. 2011. Archived from the original (Video) on July 26, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  6. ^ "2010–11 NCAA Men's Basketball Records" (PDF). 2010–11 NCAA Men's Basketball Media Guide. National Collegiate Athletic Association. 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  7. ^ a b "NCAA News Archive – 2001". National Collegiate Athletic Association. October 8, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "1956 NBA Draft". Sports Reference LLC. 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "Jerry Harper – Alabama Sports Hall of Fame".
  11. ^ "Jerry Harper Dies at 67", The Tuscaloosa News, pp. C1, September 18, 2001, retrieved March 29, 2011