Rutgers' Ron Harper Jr. gives major shoutout to Mackey Arena, Purdue student section
The B1G is home to some of the most historic venues in college basketball. Because of the raucous environments across the league, there really isn’t an easy place to play in the league.
But there are some arenas that stand out more than others. In a recent episode of Big Ten Network’s On the Bench podcast with Mike Hall, Rutgers star Ron Harper Jr. was asked which venue was the most difficult in the B1G.
Without hesitation, Harper pointed out Purdue’s Mackey Arena.
“Mackey Arena, hands down. Every day of the week,” Harper said. “I’ll take that to the grave. Mackey Arena is the hardest place to play. I remember so many things about that arena — how it looks, where the students are.”
Harper said one of the most frustrating things about playing Purdue in West Lafayette is while shooting free throws. The Purdue student section (The Paint Crew) doesn’t make life easy.
“At the foul line, I try to go up there and it’s just me and the rim. I try to zone everything out,” he said. “And you just see hands behind the backboard. And you’re trying to concentrate and you just see a bunch of waving fingers. It’s just the most frustrating thing. There’s so much movement that it’s hard to focus.”
Hardest place to play in @B1GMBBall?
"Mackey Arena, hands down. Every day of the week."
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 25, 2022
Unfortunately for Harper, Rutgers still has to venture to West Lafayette for a Feb. 20 meeting against Purdue in Mackey Arena. But he should have some confidence on his side.
In the December meeting in Piscataway, Harper buried a half-court shot as time expired to lift the Scarlet Knights over the then-No. 1 ranked Boilermakers,
He ended the night with 30 points and 10 rebounds in the 70-68 thriller.
Life is obviously more difficult on the road in the B1G, though. At least Harper knows what to expect when Rutgers heads into Mackey Arena next month.