Much had been made about this perception that players didn’t care to play basketball with the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron. Some didn’t like their demeanor or their attitude and that dogged them until after they signed to come play ball for Coach Cal here at Kentucky. That perception dogged them to the point that some even thought it would hurt recruiting for the 2013 class. Hahaha look how that turned out! Now I’ve never met them and only seen them play a couple times thus far but there is absolutely no indication that anyone on Kentucky’s team doesn’t want to play with them. What a ludicrous notion. Just for good measure, to leave no stone unturned in this “matter,” Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News had a little sit down with Andrew and Aaron.
Some prominent analysts have suggested Andrew and his twin brother Aaron might be difficult teammates. Yep, heard that one before.
There were suggestions elite power forward Julius Randle, whose on-court rivalry with the brothers stretched back to grade school, would not consent to join them. It was prevalent enough that a year ago, shortly after the Harrisons committed to Kentucky but months before he would decide to join them, Randle felt compelled to write a blog for USA Today that debunked that theory.
Randle called the whole commotion “the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.” And later on, he signed with Kentucky. So maybe it is.
“To be honest with you, I think it just comes from our opponents, I guess how we come off as such competitors,” Andrew told Sporting News. “I hate to lose, and when I do lose I don’t always do it the right way.
“I never had a teammate that I didn’t like, or hopefully that didn’t like me.”
Brian Snow of Scout.com acknowledged that he wondered how the two would interact on the court with other elite players, because they’d dominated their high school and summer teams in the manner one might expect from a pair of top-10 prospects who’d grown up so close. But the rest? “I felt it was overblown,” Snow told SN.
Well, the Harrisons certainly are getting a full-immersion experience in interacting with other elite players now. They are surrounded by former high school All-Americans and future pros. They are an essential part of Sporting News’ preseason No. 1 team, with a chance to become the most accomplished twin brothers in the game’s history. The Van Arsdales, Tom and Dick, scored a combined 29,311 points in their NBA careers. That’s a high bar but, from where the Harrisons stand, perhaps not out of reach.
And the only genuine disappointment to date is that Andrew, perhaps the most important member of the Wildcats, has been bothered by a knee bruise that limited his practice time when SN visited and in their Blue-White scrimmage Tuesday night.
The Harrisons will allow they look out for one another on the court, but it’s understandable given the bond they’ve established as twin brothers and the chemistry that developed as they played so often together.
As he practices and prepares for the huge Nov. 12 game against No. 2 Michigan State, Andrew said he still is working to understand how teammates such as Randle and Young prefer to receive the basketball, in which positions they are most dangerous. He’s already compiled and digested that book on Aaron.
Asked a philosophical question—if all four teammates somehow were equally open, would it be Aaron who’d get the ball?—Andrew doesn’t bite.
“I’m going to make the winning play no matter what,” he said. “Me and Aaron obviously have a little more chemistry. I know what he’s going to do and stuff. But at the same time, all my teammates, I get along with, just like my brother.
“Hopefully, I’m hard to play against, but I definitely don’t think I’m hard to play with.”
Not to look ahead right away, but let’s look ahead now to some 2014 recruiting class possibilities; in particular Devin Booker and James Blackmon, Jr. Both Booker and Blackmon, Jr. are set to announce their college decision later today and they are the two ELITE shooters in that class. So depending who we lose to the NBA after this season, we could need them in a huge way.
Halloween day on Thursday could lead to some recruiting treats for the University of Kentucky basketball team, which could land two of the nation’s premier scoring guards — Devin Booker and James Blackmon Jr.— within a matter of hours.
The 6-foot-5 Booker, one of the country’s best shooters, plans to announce his college decision at 4 p.m. EDT Thursday at his school, Moss Point (Miss.) High.
The nation’s No. 30 player by Rivals.com, Booker is down to UK, Michigan, Michigan State and Missouri — all schools he has officially visited.
According to the 247Sports.com Crystal Ball feature, in which media make recruiting predictions, UK is a significant favorite to land Booker.
The same goes for the Crystal Ball of Blackmon, the high-scoring Marion, Ind., combo guard who will announce his decision in prime time on ESPNU on Thursday.
Blackmon, a former Indiana University commitment, is considering UK, IU, Michigan, Michigan State and Kansas. He’ll tell his pick during an ESPNU interview at halftime of the network’s broadcast of the football game between Troy and Louisiana-Monroe. That game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
The 6-2 Blackmon visited UK on Oct. 18 and IU, which he’s kept on his list since withdrawing his pledge two months ago, last weekend. He has also officially visited Michigan.
UK, where Blackmon’s father, James Sr., played in the 1980s, is the prediction of 98 percent of the media on the 247 Crystal Ball.
If the Wildcats are able to land both Booker and Blackmon, they’ll have made significant strides in reloading a roster that could lose seven underclassmen to the NBA draft in 2014.
Neither Blackmon, who can play both shooting guard and point guard, nor Booker is considered a sure-fire one-and-done college player, so if the Cats win out, they could be positioned to have one of the nation’s best perimeter-shooting teams for multiple years.
Booker and Blackmon have been two of UK’s primary targets this fall. The Wildcats, who have commitments from Ulis and five-star center Karl Towns Jr., are also on the short lists of five-star prospects Trey Lyles, Stanley Johnson, Myles Turner and Jahlil Okafor.