The Edmond Sun

Sports

February 24, 2009

Harper blossoms for Bronchos

From the moment Lance Harper steps out on the floor, there’s little doubt he’s the leader of the Central Oklahoma men’s squad. The 6-foot-6 senior plays with an unmatched level of intensity and has developed into one of the elite players in the Lone Star Conference.

But when the former Edmond Memorial standout stepped on campus three years ago, he wasn’t even sure he’d even crack the roster.

“I had no idea what to expect when I came here,” Harper said. “I had no idea I’d be having this much fun, especially down the stretch, when you see your goals in sight, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

As a senior at Edmond Memorial, Harper knew he wanted to play college ball, but after drawing only a few offers, he decided to give up his dream and headed to the University of Oklahoma to focus on academics. But that itch never faded.

“After my second year I started missing it, intramurals wasn’t cutting it for me, I called Coach (Terry) Evans and talked to him about walking on and that spring he let me try out.”

Evans was immediately impressed with Harper’s long frame and high basketball IQ, but wasn’t sold on him.

“When he transferred he wasn’t real strong, not really in shape and I told him unless he got in the weight room and got in shape he wouldn’t get to play,” Evans said.

Harper heeded the advice, adding muscle to his lean frame, while also steadily improving his game. During his rookie year with the Bronchos, Harper quickly developed into a solid reserve and stepped it up a notch last year and was named an All-Lone Star Conference North Division honorable mention, after averaging 10.6 points, 4.5 rebound per game. Harper credits the success to his friend and former teammate Sam Belt.

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