Harper starred at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for four seasons from 1982-83 through 1985-86. As a freshman, Harper scored 12.8 points per game and led Miami in rebounding with 7.0 per game as the team went 13-15. As a sophomore, he led the Redhawks in scoring with 16.3 points per game and in rebounding with 7.6 per game as the Redhawks went 24-6 and won the Mid-American Conference championship, the MAC tournament championship, and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.
In his junior season, he set personal bests and again led the team with 24.9 and 10.7 rebounds per game and also led in steals with 2.6 per game. He was named MAC Player of the Year as the Redhawks went 20-11, finished second in the MAC and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament.
In his senior season, on March 8, 1985, he set both a Miami and a MAC tournament single-game scoring record of 45 points in one game (as well as snaring 18 rebounds). His scoring average of 24.9 per game is second all-time at Miami behind Fred Foster’s 26.8 in 1967-68. He again led the team in rebounding with 11.7 per game as well as assists (4.3) and steals (3.3). He also became the first Mac player in history to record a triple-double with 38 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists against Ball State University.
He was again named MAC Player of the Year and named second-team All-American by both the Associated Press (AP) and United Press International (UPI). The Redhawks went 24-7 to win the MAC title and earn a berth in the NCAA tournament.
Harper is Miami’s all-time leading scorer with 2,377 points, and also leads both in rebounding with 1,119. He was the first men’s player in MAC history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career. He also holds the Redhawks’ all-time records for career scoring average (19.8), games started (118), minutes played (4,164), field goals (969), and blocked shots (173). He had a career field goal percentage of .534.
At his final home game in 1986, he became the first basketball player in Miami history to have his number (34) retired.