Derek Harper

Derek Harper
Derek Harper
No. 12, 11
Point guard
Personal information
Date of birth October 13, 1961 (1961-10-13) (age 50)
Place of birth Elberton, Georgia
Nationality American
High school North Shore
(West Palm Beach, Florida)
Listed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
College Illinois (1980–1983)
NBA Draft 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 11th overall
Selected by the Dallas Mavericks
Pro career 1983–1999
Career history
19831994 Dallas Mavericks
1994–1996 New York Knicks
1996–1997 Dallas Mavericks
1997–1998 Orlando Magic
1999 Los Angeles Lakers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 16,006 (13.3 ppg)
Assists 6,577 (5.5 apg)
Steals 1,957 (1.6 spg)
Stats at
Stats at

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 the 1993-94 season as the Knicks were looking for a defensive point guard to replace Doc Rivers who went down with an injury that sidelined him for the whole season. This turned out to be a blessing for Harper because the Mavericks were on their way to a 13-69 win-loss campaign, while Harper was an integral part of a Knicks team that came within one game of winning the 1994 NBA Championship.

Harper played for the Knicks through the 1995-96 season, returned to Dallas the following season, and played one season each with the Magic and Lakers before retiring. The Lakers traded Harper to the Detroit Pistons, but he retired without reporting to the team.

Harper played in 1199 regular season games in his career, ranking him twenty-first in NBA history (as of the 2004-5 NBA season). He retired having the eleventh most steals and the seventeenth most assists in NBA history, and is widely regarded with the dubious distinction as being one of the best players to never make it to the All-Star game.

Harper presently lives in Dallas with his family. He is now a game analyst for the Dallas Mavericks on their locally broadcasted games; and since fall 2005, he has been the weekend sports anchor at KTXA, the former CBS operated station serving the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

See also

External links

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