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By LARRY VAUGHT
One criticism often directed at twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison is that they are too intense on the court and get upset with teammates too easily.
Aaron Harrison admits he only smiles “sometimes” on the court.
“But really, no. Just probably intensity and just knowing it is a game, but it really isn’t to us. I do it to win. I just don’t do it to have fun when I play. I want to win,” he said.
That attitude is why Calipari is pushing him to be a team leader even though he didn’t get on campus until late August.
“I like that. Being guards, you always have to be some type of leader on your team. Coach Cal has given us some leadership roles, and it is great,” Harrison said. “He expects leadership from me. He knows what all of us can do on the basketball court, but some of us he gave leadership roles to be leaders of the team so we can win.”
He played in all the major postseason all-star games last spring. During his senior season, his team came to the Marshall County Hoop Fest, where Kentucky fans turned out to watch him and his brother play.
“I have played in a lot of big games and I am sure it has helped me, but I don’t think I have ever played in front of a group like I am going to play in front of here. I played in front of large crowds before. At our state game, there were 10,000 people there. It’s going to be a test. I have not played in such an intense environment as this,” he said.
He knows games such as Michigan State, North Carolina and Louisville will be special.
“It is going to be amazing. That is pretty much what I live for, to play on big stages like that,” he said. “Just go out and play in front of thousands of people. We are coming out to make a point and prove to the country that we are the best team.”
He says the spotlight has been on him and his brother for about the last three years, so they are both used to a lot of attention and what likely lies ahead with the passionate Kentucky fans.
“I got kind of prepared for this. I took two visits and saw how it was. It was great. The atmosphere is great. The students, they don’t really bother you that much. It is great. I love it here,” he said. “But it is hard at times. You just can’t go anywhere you want like a normal kid. You can’t do what everybody else does, especially here. You just can’t do everything else that others do. Maybe that’s a good thing sometimes, but sometimes you just want to have fun.
“My dad definitely started preaching that to us early that we had to watch what we did. Of course, a teenager wouldn’t get why he couldn’t just do everything and do what all his friends were doing. Now I get it.”
His mother had a different, but important, role in his life.
“Everything else except basketball she took care of,” he said. “She cooked dinner every single night. If we needed something for school, she got it. Everything we ever needed, she got it. Everything except basketball she was there for.
“I would say we were a handful at times, too. It was probably tough living in the house with three guys. She was great. As long as we were in the house, she didn’t care what we were doing. She would just find a way to take care of us.”