The Easter weekend has come and gone with no official word on what Andrew and Aaron Harrison will do concerning their future next year. Usually these things slip out on Easter Sunday night as the players return to campus. As of this morning, the Big Blue Nation still awaits word on the Harrison Twins, as well as Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson, and Alex Poythress.
While it is curious that Julius Randle has not announced yet, the most significant decision for the 2014-15 season is with the Harrison’s. Over the weekend, we learned that Andrew Harrison Sr announced the family was still awaiting further information from the NBA. And there have been some NBA scouts that have spoken anonymously and it seems that they may be telling the family to return to Kentucky.
“It’d be good for both of them to go back next year,” said the scout, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to discuss draft prospects. “That’s what I’d advise them to do. I don’t think anybody is really high on them.”
Before the twins had ever played a college game, they were viewed as surefire first-round draft picks. Then a difficult regular season revealed flaws and raised questions. Then a redemptive postseason run showed their potential once more.
The belief in NBA circles is that the 6-foot-6 twin brothers remain genuinely torn, the scout said. One Eastern Conference general manager told him the twins’ father, Aaron Sr., wanted his sons to declare for the draft, but a lukewarm response from the league has given the family some pause.
The scout, who followed UK closely all season, said that if the twins leave, his franchise would be unlikely to draft either of them. Many teams are intrigued by their size, he said, but there are questions about their speed, explosiveness and shooting ability.
“They’ve got to work on those things in the summer to better their chances,” the scout said. “Right now they don’t have that, so they’re kind of average. They did help themselves in the tournament. Andrew moved up, kind of high second round or maybe late first. But before all of that, they weren’t even in some teams’ top 60.”
Aaron Harrison Sr. isn’t returning calls or text messages from reporters these days, and you can’t really blame him. He has more to worry about than explaining to us what he’s worried about.
There are of course other decisions to be made this week and the latest Sporting News mock draft has Julius Randle going to the Boston Celtics at number five. If Randle is hearing top five from all the scouts, I would expect him to leave. The same mock has James Young going to Minnesota at #13, which would be a great area for James to go in. However, it is the position of the Harrisons that has me more than a bit concerned.
#21 – Memphis – Andrew Harrison
For much of the season, Harrison was part of a push-and-pull scenario involving the focus of the Wildcats offense. But he seemed to be more comfortable as a playmaker and scorer as the season went on, and showed that he has a future as an NBA point guard.
#25 – Houston – Aaron Harrison
His clutch-shooting display over the course of the NCAA tournament firmed up Harrison’s reputation as a perimeter scorer. If there were questions about his credentials as a first-rounder, he has answered them.
Obviously this is a mock draft, but if Andrew Harrison Sr is able to get this kind of projection from a couple of NBA executives, that may be a cue to leave. I would assume that this is a best case scenario for the twins to go pro and would be a minority view. However, all it takes is one or two teams to make this claim to make the twins leaving a reality.
For those becoming weary of the “one and done” speculation, next years class may offer some hope. While we will hear speculation all year on Karl Towns Jr, the rest of the class seems to be the type of players to stick around a few years. I personally think Towns could stick around as well, but the NBA speculation will be dogging him, especially if he grows three more inches.
I found a report from the McDonald’s All Star game that says that this class seems more like college players as well. Let’s hope it’s true.
Kentucky – This is one of the most distinctive recruiting classes for John Calipari in years. What makes this class different is that these players are “actual college basketball players.” What I mean by that is each player in this recruiting class is built for college basketball and not solely the pros. Each player represents a certain role for a loaded Kentucky team next year. Karl Towns Jr. out of St. Joseph’s is going to have a strong impact in Lexington. His frame is incredible, standing at 7-1 and he can run the floor like a guard. He even made one of the best passes in the game when he completed a behind-the-back pass from almost half-court that led to a player scoring. What is scary that throughout the week, he was telling reporters that doctors told him he is expected to grow three more inches.
Before the week I was not intrigued by Trey Lyles but after watching him close up in practice and in the game, everything about my opinion has changed. Lyles probably has the best footwork of any big man in the class and has a great soft touch around the rim. He is also a great four that has the ability to stretch the floor. He is going to be a great fit at Kentucky if he can find enough minutes battling with a stacked Wildcats frontcourt.
Devin Booker is a lethal shooter and reminds me a lot of former Wildcat Doron Lamb. Booker is going to find minutes on the court early on just off his shooting ability alone.
One of my favorite players in the class is Tyler Ulis. Despite his height, Ulis is a tough guard that Coach Calipari is going to love to coach. He brings a lot on the defensive end and has shown that he can get to the rim with a solid floater game.