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Harper ready to give college try

16-year-old Las Vegas High baseball prodigy registers at CSN, plans to attain GED to speed draft eligibility

Bryce Harper, the baseball phenom from Las Vegas High School, has no future in high school. An extraordinary player is ready to make an unusual move.

Harper, a 16-year-old who just completed his sophomore year, has registered at the College of Southern Nevada, where he plans to attend classes in August and play for the Coyotes next season.

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  • His father, Ron Harper, announced the decision Saturday while in Oklahoma City for a baseball tournament.

    "Bryce is always looking for his next challenge," Ron Harper said. "He's going to pursue his education, too. He's going to get pushed academically and athletically.

    "I don't see a problem with it. I think we've handled it the right way. I think it will be a great story."

    Bryce Harper gained national acclaim by appearing on the June 8 cover of Sports Illustrated as "Baseball's Chosen One." The story hinted at his plans to enroll in junior college to prepare for his professional career.

    Harper, a 6-foot-3-inch catcher, hit .626 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs for the Wildcats this season. He also had 36 stolen bases.

    With his combination of power and speed, Harper is projected to be the top pick in the major league draft when he's eligible. That should be next June.

    Ron Harper said his son, who turns 17 on Oct. 16, will be draft eligible "in 2010 or 2011. ... There are a lot of rules that people don't know about."

    Bryce Harper and his mother, Sheri, recently went to CSN and signed enrollment forms and his letter of intent to play baseball. Harper is aiming to earn his GED test credentials in the fall.

    "He was thinking about it. He initiated it," Ron Harper said. "He said, 'Dad, why can't I take my GED and do this?' "

    The minimum age for major league draft eligibility is 16, upon completion of high school.

    Ron Harper said Las Vegas High administrators and baseball coach Sam Thomas are "all supportive" of the move, though he expects detractors might surface.

    "There are going to be critics. I can't worry about what people think. People are going to see what they want to see and say what they want to say," Ron Harper said. "I think this prepares him for life, playing the game of baseball.

    "People question your parenting and what you're doing. Honestly, we don't think it's that big a deal. He's not leaving school to go work in a fast-food restaurant. Bryce is a good kid. He's smart, and he's going to get his education."

    CSN coach Tim Chambers is a longtime friend of the Harper family.

    "That's the only way this works out. I've known Tim for about 25 years," Ron Harper said. "Tim is going to take care of him. I couldn't send Bryce somewhere else. If I sent him across the country, I might second-guess myself and think I was crazy."

    Bryan Harper, Bryce's brother, is transferring from Cal State Northridge to play for the Coyotes next season, so Bryce will have a strong support group at CSN. Bryan is a 6-5 left-handed pitcher.

    "It's phenomenal because I get to play with my brother," Bryce said.

    Ron Harper said he and Bryce have faced a "media frenzy" since arriving in Oklahoma City last week, a result of the publicity from the Sports Illustrated cover story.

    "I've always tried to keep him humble," Ron Harper said. "But Bryce has always made good decisions on his own. He needs to be a good role model.

    "My son is going to live with us and still eat at the same table. His brother will be a mentor to him. Why can't it be a good story?"

    Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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    Get real people wrote on June 16, 2009 02:47 PM: Come on now, quit judging these people. It sounds like their kids are doing pretty well for themselves and some of you are making them out to be the worst parents in the world. Instead of hating on these people why don't you go down to the trailer park and hate on some of the really bad parents whose kids will not only drop out of high school, but also not get a GED, not go to JC, not get a job and will continue the cycle of living off the govt.

    DA MUNCHIES MAN IN LONG BEACH, CA wrote on June 16, 2009 11:06 AM: I just happen to mention last night that Golden Baseball could sign Mr harper to a contract. Thus making him a free agent to negociate with any team he wishes in September. EYES BECAME OPEN REAL WIDE. STAY TUNED. BRYCE & JOSE LIMA ON THE SAME TEAM? TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS DUE IN SIX WEEKS OR SIX MONTHS?

    the kid wrote on June 16, 2009 10:19 AM: Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Mwark Twain, Joe Dimaggio, George Washington, alt Whitman, Andre Agassi, Mickey Mantle, Joe Louis... just to name a few of the famous people in american history and american sports who never graduated high school. dont judge bryce and his family for any of his decisions. if any of you idiots had any REAL clue about this family you would eat all these ridiculous and hurtful comments you are making.

    Ron and Sheri are two of the greatest parents that would never make a decision that wasn't thought out. Bryce is not dropping out of high school to flip burger. He is taking a GED and going to a community college for 2 years where he will receive an associates degree. Ron and Sheri have and never will be interested in the money. They have and will continue to work hard for the money they make.

    I dont understand why the world has such an oppinion on how 2 parents should raise their children. If Bryce was your son you would make this same decision. end of story.

    Most Rev. Leland Lannoye wrote on June 16, 2009 09:19 AM: This is just another example of the distorted values in our society. There is nothing wrong with games, but to let games, the evils of professional sports, or, even, inter scholastic sports to modify an educational regimen is unacceptable. I don't care whether the greed mongers approve or not.

    Coach Che' Jones wrote on June 16, 2009 07:17 AM: And a black athlete with a high school diploma and a single mother with 2 or 3 siblings at home, on welfare, in the projects should not leave C-O-L-L-E-G-E early to go be a lottery pick in the NBA draft? And to make matters worse his brother is leaving a division I school where he could earn a B.A. to attend a CC for a year? This is appauling and Child protective Services should step in! I'm a college coach and former LVHS athlete and were very proud of Bryce, but this IS NOT the type of publicity that we want for Las vegas athletics!

    Bill Novelline wrote on June 16, 2009 06:35 AM: I have been involved in baseball from Little League through College. Part of being a great player is maturity and confronting situations. Immaturity and lack of life's experiences could comeback to haunt him. A different sport ---football saw a potential superstar go down the drain because of immaturity--He's Todd Marinovich. Finish high school and move on. Sometimes young players mature at 16 others grow at a steady rate and also mature.

    Allie Kurcz wrote on June 16, 2009 01:00 AM: Two words... "STOP HATING!" bryce had deff earned this and worked so hard to get to where he's at. he's amazing and he will do amazing things.

    The greatest show on dirt wrote on June 15, 2009 03:05 PM: Hey, why not? Who says that you have to follow the "rules" and finish HS before college and pros? I say that life is short and you might as well go for the glory when you have the chance. Go big or Go home. You gotta take 'em one day at a time and good lord willing, things will work out. Some times you win, sometimes you lose and some times it rains.

    teacher wrote on June 15, 2009 02:30 PM: Good luck, Bryce! When you have opportunities in life that others don't have, grab them. Sounds like you and your family know that. Don't let the critics bother you. Keep it up, kid. I look forward to watching you at CSN.

    KB wrote on June 15, 2009 02:26 PM: hmmm so if he gets injured he probably will be making burgers...put his GED to good use....

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