Troy Harper didn’t get dejected, instead becoming more determined after a rocky start to the basketball season. After three games, the 6-foot-1 Drexel senior had scored a total of nine points.

Then, he scored 24 in his fourth game, an 89-84 win over La Salle, and has taken off since.

Harper, a local standout at Neumann-Goretti who attended Campbell University for his first two seasons, is Drexel’s leading scorer, averaging 16.2 points. Not a pure shooter, he is more of a scorer and is fearless taking the ball to the hoop. That explains why he has attempted 159 free throws, more than twice as many as anybody else on the Dragons (10-12, 4-5 Colonial Athletic Association).

Harper entered the week 12th in the CAA in free-throw percentage (.799). He leads the CAA in free-throw attempts.

“Troy does a good job of getting to the foul line and is one of the best in the country at attacking the basket,” Drexel coach Zach Spiker said.

Statistics bear that out. Harper began the week rated eighth nationally in free-throw attempts.

He isn’t known for his field-goal shooting, but he has worked on his craft. After the first three games this season, when he was a combined 3-for-18, he locked himself in the gym and took hundreds of jumpers.

“I got in the gym and worked on my game, knowing I wasn’t playing as well as I wanted to in the beginning of the season,” said Harper, who has 1,188 career points, counting his time at Campbell.

Drexel guard Troy Harper holds onto the rim after dunking against William and Mary.
LOU RABITO / Staff
Drexel guard Troy Harper holds onto the rim after dunking against William and Mary.

Last season, Harper also had a difficult start and came on strong toward the end. He had sat out the previous year as a transfer, then suffered a shoulder injury that cost him eight games early in the season.

Harper averaged 10.1 points last year and has taken his game up this season.

A sports management major, Harper is looking to continue his career after graduation.

“That has been the goal for a while: Coming to college, I wanted to play afterward,” he said. “I don’t know where, and right now I am just concentrating on my senior year.”

Wherever his career takes him, Harper will take that Philadelphia attitude with him, one in which he never backs down from an opponent, never shies away from contact, and enters any game feeling he can beat his man to the basket.