Breaking the Press with Harper Peterson

Impacting both ends of the court at a high level is the goal for many players and the best consistently find ways to ensure it happens. It’s something Harper Peterson has excelled at, but uniquely the forward has transformed this skillset into being the conductor and orchestrator of efficient and disciplined play for her team. Reading the floor and reacting quickly to play development make the application of her physical traits highly impactful towards beating defenses and disrupting offenses.

Peterson isn’t necessarily dominating touches on the court, but her ability to internally dissect advantages and disadvantages, as if a chess board was layered on top of the hardwood, maximize how strongly her contributions are felt. At 6’3″ many aspects of her skillset – pushing the tempo as a primary ball-handler in transition, facilitating to teammates, stretching the floor with her shooting, clogging the lane and holding her own defensively against guards along the perimeter – highlight the vast scope of her influence on the game.

Getting production from so many sources is a massive boon for the teams Peterson suits up for. It made her contributions invaluable towards Jason Kidd Select’s results over recent seasons and in securing a 17U Championship this Summer on the Select 40 Circuit. The lack of constraints on her skillset make her capable of early production at the next level, once she chooses her new home.

Can you recap your final grassroots season which led to an S40 championship?

My last AAU season was amazing I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. From the very beginning- before we all even met- Coach Armando was already saying we were going to win it all. Soon after we had our first practice, we bonded instantly. It felt like I have known and played with these girls my whole life. We started playing in our first couple of tournaments and we were really good. When July came around, it was time for us to start knocking off teams. Every game /win mattered for us to reach that championship. The tougher the team, better we played. This team really played for each other the whole summer, it was a sisterhood that was created and will never be broken. Before we knew it we were Select 40 National Champions, but we already believed we were going to get it from the start.

We just had some work to do to accomplish our goal. 

What have you been able to take away from the Jason Kidd Select coaching staff and Jason Kidd himself in order to grow your game?

What I have learned and continued to practice is that our success is built upon what we, as individuals, do to grow and develop ourselves and skills. It is different for each player. Most importantly,  Our results are dependent on what we do with our skills together, as a team, in order to succeed on the court. 

My experience at Jason Kidd Select has shown me that there are people working to grow girls/women’s basketball by providing opportunities to girls everywhere and expanding the exposure needed too. Excited to see what the future holds for the young girls just starting to play basketball.

You have a high-level grasp on communication and assessing risk on the defensive end from the power forward position. What’s your approach on the that side of the floor and what’s helped you develop those skills?

My approach on the defensive side is really just doing anything possible to create havoc on the offense. This year I knew if I went to help on defense, my team was rotating and would have my back. We truly trusted each other. My mindset is simple, defense wins games. So I am going to communicate to my teammates and give it all for every 30 second shot clock because in the end those possessions matter. I definitely think watching the WNBA has helped me with these skills. There are so many players that I feel like I play like in the league so I really look up to them and just pick apart their game when I watch.

Your ability to process play development accentuates some of the traits – ball handling and facilitating – that make your offensive skill set unique. Does the freedom to make spontaneous decisions on offense aide your ability to get in rhythm and make plays? 

It might sound crazy or unusual in this day and age, but I believe in teamwork, we over me, and getting the ball to the open person, makes no sense to me when people are trying to do everything themselves (alone). It’s a team sport and there 4 other people on the court that you should trust to be able to finish your passes and make the extra pass/play/score. I play for the win and not for my stats. Passing is a big part of my game and identity on the court. I believe in moving the ball and taking advantage of each situation. Sometimes I’m open for a shot and others it’s getting the ball to an open teammate. 

What areas of your game are you looking to improve on before getting to the next level?

I am really working to improve my core strength and being stronger physically and mentally for myself and team. So hitting the weight room, yoga, speed and agility keep me my schedule full. Also, just making my shot more consistent before getting to the next level.  Always making time to get up extra shots. 

Which schools are contacting you the most?

I have had great relationships with all of the schools recruiting me both with offers or with interest. That’s the hardest part of the recruiting process is having to choose just one college, coach, team. These coaches do an amazing job building relationships and I’ve truly have enjoyed every step learning about their programs, goals and getting feedback from them too. I’m grateful for the opportunities, especially getting to meet and talk to some amazing coaches and even better people.  

I have taken all of my official visits and planning on deciding soon! The final decision is the hardest part on my basketball journey. My final three are FSU, Stanford and Washington.

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