UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond native Justin Harper and Darryl Cowan Jr. of Goldsboro, N.C. have signed National Letters of Intent with the University of Richmond during the early signing period, head coach Chris Mooney announced.
Harper is a 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Meadowbrook High in Richmond and Cowan is a 6-foot-3 guard from Eastern Wayne High in Goldsboro, N.C. The two players will join the men’s basketball program for the 2007-08 season.
“This is a golden opportunity for me to play for Richmond,” Harper said. “Not only do I get to represent my hometown, but I also get to help build the program.”
“To be chosen to represent the University of Richmond basketball program is truly a blessing,” Cowan said. “I’ve always dreamed of playing for a Division I school and I know I made the right choice with the University of Richmond. I can’t wait to be a Spider.”
Harper is the second Richmond-area player Mooney has signed, joining Douglas Freeman High’s Ryan Butler, a red-shirt freshman on this year’s squad. Harper had an impressive summer playing for the Richmond Metro AAU team and was also looking at Providence, Temple and East Carolina. His final two choices came down to Richmond and Providence.
“We are very excited that Justin decided to attend Richmond,” second-year head coach Chris Mooney said. “It is very important for us to recruit the best players in the Richmond area and I believe Justin will have a very good career here. Justin has improved tremendously over the past six months. He’s beginning to reach his potential.”
Harper, who just turned 17 on August 30, was the sixth man for Meadowbrook last winter as a junior, helping the team to the Central Region Tournament title and a berth in the state quarterfinals. He averaged 7.6 points, six rebounds, two assists and one steal per game and scored a career-high 22 points with four 3-pointers in the Central Region quarterfinal victory over Henrico.
“He was the sixth man, but we had five senior starters who had been with us for a long time. We may have been a better team with him on the court.” Meadowbrook head coach John B. Gordon III said. “He was a center as a freshman but he really worked on his versatility and as a sophomore began showing that he can hit the outside shot. He is a great kid and we expect him to do very well at Richmond.”
Cowan, who also goes by D.J., was Eastern Wayne High’s leading scorer and team MVP as a junior last season.
“D.J. is a very good player who has flown under the recruiting radar screen,” Mooney said. “His speed and skillfulness should enable him to help us.”
As a junior, Cowan averaged 14 points, four assists, three steals, two blocks and two rebounds per game. He shot 97-percent from the free throw line for the season.
“Darryl is an outstanding athlete and a great team player,” Cowan’s high school coach Marvin Bowman said. “He does things on the court to make his teammates better and he is a very coachable young man.”
Mooney and his staff have now signed nine student-athletes in less than two years at Richmond. The Spiders open the 2006-07 on Tuesday night when they host East Carolina in the Robins Center.