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October 4, 2012
Calipari keeps rolling as Harrison twins pick UK
Thursday was going to be a huge day for somebody. When twins Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison announced their college decision live on national television, Kentucky scored yet another major victory on the recruiting trail and landed a backcourt capable of keeping the Wildcats in the Final Four field.
It wasn't a slam dunk for John Calipari and the Wildcats as the 6-foot-5 twins from Houston (Texas) Travis, who rank Nos. 3 and 4 nationally, didn't have an easy decision. Maryland is rebuilding and Mark Turgeon and his staff had deep ties to the twins, while Hall of Famer Larry Brown of SMU made a compelling case.
"Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us and he told us it was going to be hard, it was going to be tough, he was going to push us every day," Andrew said during the nationally televised announcement on ESPNU. "That's what we wanted to hear. We want to become better players."
At the end of the day, though, it was Calipari, his staff and what they have been able to accomplish with on-the-floor results and sending players to the NBA that sealed the deal.
While Kentucky has been dominating high school recruiting since Calipari's arrival, the value of the twins cannot be understated. Aaron, a combo guard, and point guard Andrew are almost assuredly going to be NBA players sooner than later. Because of that, their stay in Lexington isn't likely to be a long one. However, it should be a very productive one and players making pit stops before moving onto the NBA is something Calipari is well-versed in handling.
Last season the Wildcats won a national championship. After that, they landed their fourth-straight No. 1 recruiting class in the country and are well on their way to making it five times in a row in 2013.
Still, let's look at exactly what each twin brings to the floor.
The higher-ranked of the duo, Aaron, has played primarily at shooting guard during his career. He shoots the ball with confidence, is an outstanding baseline scorer and has an uncanny ability to draw fouls and earn easy points at the free throw line.
What gives him a slight edge over his brother is that Aaron can also slide over and run the point with just as much ease as he plays the two.
While Aaron can play some point guard, Andrew is a point guard and easily the best one in the class of 2013. His size for the position is outstanding given that he's not only tall but strong, quick and highly intelligent.
He sees the floor as well as any high school point guard in the last 10 years, doesn't ever seem to be rushed and, much like his brother, he's highly skilled and competitive.
The twins join a 2013 recruiting class that already includes Kentucky-raised power forward Derek Willis, who ranks No. 126 in the 2013 Rivals150. Since the twins both check in as top five players, the Wildcats class becomes the No. 1 recruiting class in the country at this point.
The scary thing is that they are just getting started for 2013. Big-time targets such as the nation's top player in 2013, Julius Randle, the nation's top player in 2014, Andrew Wiggins (who may move to 2013) and five-stars James Young, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Lee are among those still on the board and heavily involved with the Wildcats.
"Last year we went to Midnight Madness (at Kentucky), it was crazy," Andrew said. "Me and Aaron got off the plane and people knew who we were. We were signing autographs, taking pictures with little kids. We kind of felt like rock stars. But that's not why we went. We went because of the basketball."