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Harrisons knew chance to win national title made Kentucky right place for them

Twins Aaron, left, and Andrew Harrison, right, talk before announcing they will attend and play NCAA college basketball for Kentucky, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in Richmond, Texas. The twins announced their college commitment in the gym of their high school. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Twins Aaron, left, and Andrew Harrison, right, talk before announcing they will attend and play NCAA college basketball for Kentucky, Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, in Richmond, Texas. The twins announced their college commitment in the gym of their high school. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)


While others were trying to decipher all the factors that might determine where Andrew and Aaron Harrison would play their college basketball, the Texas twins apparently were not worried about ties with shoe companies, family ties and long-time connections with any coach.

Instead, the twins picked Kentucky over Maryland where they have family living, have known coach Mark Turgeon since his Texas Tech coaching days and have ties to Maryland sponsor UnderArmour through their AAU play.

And what made them pick Kentucky?

“We liked coach (John) Calipari’s fire to win and we want to win a national championship,” Andrew said after making the announcement on ESPNU during a ceremony at their high school.

“Also, coach Calipari did not guarantee anything and we liked that,” Aaron said.

Simple right? The twins wanted to win a national title, not worry whether they work Nike or UnderArmour sneakers. They wanted to compete in practice daily with the top-tier recruits Calipari gets every year rather than knowing they would be the stars of the team immediately.

“Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us … he would push us every day,” Andrew said. “We just want to be better players.”

That’s exactly what Calipari has done for top recruits such as John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague in recent years. He did the same for Patrick Patterson, Deandre Liggins and Josh Harrellson. Why wouldn’t the Harrisons think he could do the same for them? In three seasons at UK, Calipari has had 15 players selected in the NBA draft, including five in the first round in 2010 and the top two picks in Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist last year.

And wouldn’t you have liked to have been with ESPN analyst and former Indiana coach Bobby Knight when the Harrisons’ mother, Marian, said she liked the grade-point average of former UK players after he joked two years ago that UK players did not even go to class.

“The GPA of the players that went to the NBA was great, and they are continuing to work toward getting their degrees,” she said at the signing ceremony.

The Harrisons are the highest-rated basketball twins ever to come out of high school. Andrew is the top point guard and No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, while Aaron is the No. 4 overall player and top-rated shooting guard in the country. Even if Kentucky signs no one other than Bullitt East commit Derek Willis to go along with the Harrisons, Calipari could still have a fifth straight No. 1 recruiting class.

But there’s no way UK won’t add other stars.

One could be Texas power forward Julius Randle, who made his official visit to UK the same weekend all the former Cats now in the NBA were on campus. He cut his list of schools to six this week and UK is one of the six.

He posted this on twitter after the Harrisons picked Kentucky: “Congrats to my bros @DrewRoc5 & @AaronICE2.”

Other top players such as Marcus Lee, James Young and Aaron Gordon could want to join the Harrisons at UK. So might Andrew Wiggins, a junior at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep who might reclassify to the 2013 recruiting class. Rather than pat himself on the back for landing the Harrisons, Calipari was in Huntington Thursday night with assistant coach Kenny Payne watching Wiggins and talented teammates practice.

But no matter what the others do, Calipari has his 2013-14 backcourt secure with the Harrisons even if both Ryan Harrow and Archie Goodwin leave after this season and already has UK fans thinking 2014 Final Four before this season even starts.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/harrisons-knew-chance-to-win-national-title-made-kentucky-right-place-for-them/


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  1. Lauren Colwell

    It’s exciting, and the prospect of continuing the Final Four trips makes the “one and done” easier to handle for me. Of course, I’d love them all to stay 2-3-4 years, but if they have to go, I can take it better knowing that a new set of players is ready to take over. If Poythress/Goodwin both leave after this year, the fact that the Harrisons are coming in will brighten the day. Right now I’m thinking we’ll keep Ryan Harrow after this coming season, but that could change. We’ll know more once we hit January/February 2013, I suppose.

    1. Kokamo Joe

      Re: If Poytress/Goodwin leave. Goodwin will have to go. Harrow? He will either be a little used sub in 2013-14 or he will go. The Harrisons did not commit to UK to sit on the bench. They will be the starting guards. Poytress’s replacement will soon commit so he will have to go. Maybe Cauley-Stein will remain, but I would not count on it. Yes, it is exciting and for it to continue each freshman class must win and then depart to make room for the next bunch. It is sort of like having a hot hand in a poker game and knowing that you luck will never run out.

      1. larryvaught

        Kokamo I think all those guys likely will leave because they are ready to leave and ready to be first round draft picks

        1. Kokamo Joe

          Think of it this way: right now we are getting the cream of the cream. I believe that we are headed for the fifth consecutive number one recrited team. What if kids decide to stay for more than one or two years? There would be no room on the roster for the new super stars. They would go to other schools and the talent would soon be level among the better college programs. So, if the domination is to continue Calipari must reload every year or lose the top pure talent to other schools.

          1. TheProfessor

            This analysis is why I believe it is not in UK’s interest at this time for the NBA to move to a 2 year minimum rule.

  2. Jan in Indiana

    Been a Kentucky fan many many years and have always loved being for the Blue and White, but I will tell you that being a Kentucky fan now is just so much FUN, Amazing and Fun!!
    Welcome to Big Blue Nation Harrison Family believe me when I say you are welcome here and we are very happy to have you. ( you might even say overjoyed.)

    1. larryvaught

      Jan and Lauren, you are both so right. Fun, fun, fun right now for Cal’s Cats.

  3. Kokamo Joe

    The reason that the Harrison twins picked Kentucky is obvious. Calipar will put them on the fast track to the NBA. Were it not for the NBA rule that forces super stars to spend one year in college this type of player would not be here. Calipari has the connections. Calipari has the dribble drive offense which will allow them to demonstrate their skills. Calipar will schedule light so that they will win big. Calipari will give them plenty of playing time. Calipari has established a treadmill. Super stars come and super stars go so that more super stars can come. As long as Calipari works at Kentucky it will continue and nothing can stop it. Soon others will commit. As I posted on another thread……Calipari has created a new tradition at UK. We are celebrating the class of 2013 when the class of 2012 has not even played a single game and by this time next year we will be celebrating the class of 2014 before the Harrison twins and the rest of their team mates have stepped on the court. Welcome rest of the college basketball world. How does it feel to be second banana to the big blue Calipari?

  4. Matt Slone

    Great to have 2 fine young men on the team!! Really impressed with how they handled the media trying to get them to say something arrogant, shocking or selfish. Class act all the way. I also believe having a strong P.Guard helps open it up to get some real high quality big men in here.
    Go Big Blue!!!

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      Agreed. While their father didn’t seem very happy, they were as well as their mom. Going to be fun watching these two amongst the rest of the team.

      1. larryvaught

        Don’t read too much into father’s reaction. Believe he’s very pleased for his sons. Think he’s got a bit of a bad rap

  5. Bob

    I think this dream come true is for both UK and the twins .UK gets great backcourt and the twins get the greatest B-Ball School as there life time family . The best of the best is called Top Gun and That’s UK’s basketball program

  6. Rex

    Call me Crazy. But if we could also get Randle, Young, and Wiggens (assuming he reclassifies) I honestly believe we could get the thing that Coach Cal has said he wanted to do some day. Have a team go undefeated.

  7. LindaS

    Do you want to know what impressed me the most? Their parents joined them at the table and they had on suits and ties. Now, folks, that is class, pure unadulterated class. These two young men, no matter their talent are going to be great examples of student-athletes. This is the type of young men you want your children to look up to and want to model. Wait, all the young men Cal has recruited have been A+. I don’t think I have ever seen so many well behaved, good kids in one program in a long time. This is the way it should be. I don’t like the one and done, but I will grow to love all these boys as I have in the past. Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It

    1. UKFAN197TONE

      WE ALL HATE IT. Imagine these players staying 2 or more years? Can you imagine the ’12 Championship team coming back?

      When/if it happens and UK is dominating…”they” will want the rule changed back. GUARANTEED.

    2. Kokamo Joe

      Linda: It is the norm for high level recruits to have their first day in the sun, especially is they are to appear on ESPN dressed in a suit and tie. I assume that both are quality young men, but there is no way to know that. You are delusional if you think that Calipari has never or will ever recruit anything but “well behaved, good kids.” He recruited some bad eggs in Memphis. Bledsoe had serious academic problems which could have cost us a season. Cousins had a bad reputation before he came to UK. Darnell Dodson was another Calipari recruit that had serious problems. Calipari has the ability to hold problem kids down and that is to his credit. But don’t think that all of the players that he has or will ever recruit will be perfect. Also, do not underestimate the ability of UK and local police to whitewash any problems that might come to some of these highly skilled players. UK players are human beings and some human beings are not perfect. If you had been told that some of Joe Hall’s teams played high on dope you would have never believed it. I believe in truth and not pie in the sky worship.

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