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2013 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Recruiting: Andrew & Aaron Harrison

Tracking the recruitment of 2013 twin guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison from Fort Bend (Tex.) Travis.

  • Live
25 Total Updates since October 2, 2012
  • Important 20
  • Videos 1
  • Updates 6
  • Articles 18
  • All Updates 25

Don't Call Him the Other Harrison

Leading up to Big Blue Madness, A Sea of Blue will be previewing each scholarship player on the 2013-14 basketball team. This is the Aaron Harrison edition.

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Andrew Harrison: Kentucky's Next Elite PG

Leading up to Big Blue Madness, A Sea of Blue will be previewing each scholarship player on the 2013-14 basketball team. This is the Andrew Harrison edition.

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UK Signees At The Nike Hoop Summit

A quick look back at the Nike Hoop Summit, and how the Kentucky 2013 signees, plus Andrew Wiggins and Karl Towns Jr., did.

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2013 Nike Hoop Summit Preview

Three Kentucky 2013 signees and a 2014 commit will participate.

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A Window Into The Future

The Jordan Brand Classic, played this past Saturday night, was not your typical all-star game.

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2013 Jordan Brand Classic Preview

Just like the McDonald's All-American Game, six future Kentucky Wildcats will be participating in the Jordan Brand Classic this weekend.

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How the Kentucky Six (Plus One) Did Last Night

How did the Kentucky commitments do in the McDonald's All-American game? Pretty well, actually.

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The UK guys at the McDonald's All-American game

The 2013 McDonald's High School All-American was loaded with talent from top to bottom. Six players were already committed to the University of Kentucky.

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McDonald's All-American Game: UK-Centric Preview

A UK-centric preview on this storied high school All-American game.

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Harrison Twins vs. Aaron Gordon on ESPN

Watch Kentucky signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison take on Aaron Gordon.

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Harrison Twins Sign LOIs, Complete Fall Class

2013 twin guards Aaron & Andrew Harrison from Fort Bend (Tex.) Travis signed their LOIs with Kentucky.

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Harrison Twins Won't Sign Early

Per a USA Today story by Jason Jordan, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison won't sign a National Letter of Intent with the Kentucky Wildcats in the Early Signing Period, which starts tomorrow, November 14. The Harrisons, twin guards from Fort Bend (Tex.) Travis, are not looking at any other schools. Instead, they are merely not signing the LOI as a precaution.

In the article, Aaron Harrison said, "People will probably run with that, but it doesn’t mean anything. We’re just making sure everything stays the same with coaching and things like that. Just a precaution I’d say. We won’t be changing our minds though. Not going through that again."

The Harrisons' father, Aaron Harrison, Sr., reiterated those sentiments to Ben Roberts of NextCats, stating: "They’re not holding out. They’re not waiting to see if anybody’s leaving. They’re going to Kentucky."

For elite prospects, it makes entirely no sense to sign an LOI, which binds the prospective student-athlete to the university unless specifically released on a later date by the Athletics Department. It puts all the power in the hands of the coaches, and leaves no margin of error for the player.

Taking what the Harrisons say at face value, their intent in not signing the LOI is merely a hedge against a potential John Calipari departure. Frankly, it makes prudent sense. And for Kentucky fans that might be antsy at the news: Keep Calm and Carry On.

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Harrison Twins Commit to the Kentucky Wildcats

Twin guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison announced live on ESPNU that they will attend Kentucky, picking the Wildcats over Maryland and SMU.

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Live Open Thread of the Harrison's Decision

Open discussion thread for Aaron and Andrew Harrison's decision on which college to attend.

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Meet The Harrisons

New ESPN video featuring Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

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The Impact Of The Harrison's Decision Today

Andy Katz had a very painful (well, if you're a Maryland Terrapins fan) analysis of the impact of the decision by Aaron and Andrew Harrison on their college of choice today:

1. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon made his final plea to the Harrison twins -- Andrew and Aaron -- on Wednesday with a visit in Texas, hoping they would commit to the Terps on Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU. Turgeon has poured quite a bit of time since his arrival in College Park to try to lure the potentially game-changing brothers. If he loses, it will be to Kentucky, so he can’t really complain. But it will be hard for Maryland to come up with a plan B. The drop-off from the Harrison twins is quite steep. They have the potential to be ACC championship-caliber players -- much more than just recruits who will be solid players that keep Maryland in the mix. To add to the drama, Maryland plays Kentucky in the season opener for both schools at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 9. If Maryland lands the players, Kentucky will move on to the next big thing. If Kentucky gets the pair, it will be even more difficult for Turgeon and staff to go against UK, knowing that they couldn’t beat Big Blue off the court and possibly on it, as well. [my emphasis]

Yikes. The real effect here is the difference between an instant-impact recruitment that could give Turgeon a lot more panache with future star recruits, and the rather slow-but-steady approach that he has taken so far, and would likely be forced to continue if Maryland doesn't come out on top.

Kentucky, on the other hand, doesn't have that problem. A high-profile loss here is a comparatively minor setback (and I use the word "comparatively" advisedly, it would still be a big setback). That illustrates the difference between where Kentucky is in the continuum of basketball programs, and where Maryland currently resides.

I think Mark Turgeon is going a very solid job so far in College Park, and the program will be fine if things don't go his way with the Harrisions. The flip side is that if things do go his way, he takes a potential (but not necessarily assured) quantum leap up, depending on how well he is able to exploit one very high-profile success. Some coaches are able to do that, and others not so much. I know too little about Turgeon to speculate on how well he would handle it.

But what Katz is essentially saying is that the stakes are much higher for Maryland than for Kentucky, and I think that's true. The last-minute visit by Coach Turgeon to Houston would seem to reinforce this analysis. No matter what happens, Maryland has more to gain, and lose, than Kentucky does. This is not a knock against the Terps, it's just a statement of current college basketball reality.

The problem for Maryland is that even if the Harrisons do decide to take their talents to College Park, it likely doesn't put the Terps in the national discussion for the NCAA Tournament championship, but it probably would put them well into the top 25 for 2013-14. That will be a major factor, I suspect, in how this whole thing winds up, because Kentucky is almost certainly going to be a contender no matter which way it goes. You are either on the Big Blue bus, or you are likely to be run over by it.

Finally, no matter how this goes, how intense is the game going to be this year between Maryland and Kentucky at the Barclays Center? Hopefully both groups of fans can keep this in perspective, but the loser is likely to be feeling a little raw when game time comes around. It will make for an interesting contest, to be sure.

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Harrison Sr. Denies CatsIllustrated.com Report

Aaron Harrison Sr.denied the report from CatsIllustrated that Ken Howlett brought to us earlier, to the Kentucky Kernel shortly after it surfaced:

A Wednesday night report by Cats Illustrated said Andrew and Aaron Harrison made a decision on their choice of school, according to an unspecified source.

Not long thereafter, information began to filter out via Twitter that the source informed the site that UK was their choice.

“This report is not true,” Aaron Harrison Sr. said via text to the Kernel later in the evening.

Those are the facts. What follows is opinion.

This is just the latest in a fairly long line of reports that have resulted in a denial by the elder Harrison. Is there any way to cut through the static? Not really, but consider this:

  • As far as I know, there have been several reports from normally credible sources that Kentucky is the destination for the Harrison twins, all denied by the elder Harrison;
  • I can't recall a single similar report that has Andrew and Aaron going to Maryland.

So, that solves it, right? If only. The reality is, nobody but them really knows. We have seen recruits send out disinformation before, only to choose the school opposite the supposedly "leaked" information. We have seen parents deny credible reports that turned out to be true. In the long run, there is really no way to know for sure. You have to trust somebody in either case, and who you choose to trust is likely to reveal more about you than them.

I would point out that Mr. Harrison has changed his story with almost every media contact about whether the decision has been made or not. Make of that what you will, but I must say that is a tiny bit suspicious to me. In my personal opinion, which is one with no insider knowledge, the UK, and Maryland, fan media is being toyed with to keep this story as active as possible.

But that's fine with me. Honestly, I am completely unworried about the decision for two reasons. One, I have been convinced for some time that Aaron and Andrew are UK bound, and have said so. If they wind up at Maryland I will be surprised and disappointed, but the reality is that recruiting is sometimes like that. Sometimes, you get surprised. If it happens, we move on, just like we did when Shabazz Muhammad decided to go to UCLA.

Two, worrying about the decision of two high school kids is just ... foolish. If we have to find someone to replace the Harrisons, we will. Remember, this is an exercise in team building, and to date, John Calipari has had no trouble whatever putting together teams good enough to challenge for the national title. Isn't that what this is all about? Yes, it would be easier with Aaron and Andrew Harrison and yes, it is still doable without them.

In this writer's opinion, and concerning this recruitment, I am very comfortable with where we are. Your mileage may vary.

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Calipari Had "Secret" Meeting With Harrisons

Ben Roberts is reporting that John Calipari had a "secret" meeting with Aaron and Andrew Harrison recently, as described by Aaron Harrison Sr.:

John Calipari, who visited the twins on the first day of the contact period, has actually been to Houston twice in the last few weeks. Harrison Sr. declined to name the date of the UK coach’s second (and previously unknown) visit.

"He asked me not to disclose that, but he has been here (twice)," he said.

[Emphasis mine]

So, there is even more intrigue surrounding this story. Many people on Kentucky's side believe this is a last-ditch attempt by Turgeon to turn the recruitment around, and many on the Maryland side believe that they want to tell Turgeon to his face that they picked Maryland. I know which one seems more likely to me.

Harrison Sr. also told Roberts that his statement that Turgeon was "the most upright citizen I have met in basketball." was accurate, and provides the circumstances for that judgment.

The article goes on to say that Harrison Sr. believes his sons have made up their minds, but he doesn't currently know who it is. He said he could find out if he wanted to know, of course.

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Under Armour vs. Coach Cal: The Twitter Firestorm

With a decision date set for the Harrison twins (this Thursday, if you were still wondering), there has been rampant speculation as to whether they will pick Kentucky or Maryland. Whatever the belief--and most pundits are leaning to Kentucky--the battle lines have been drawn.

It's the heroic coach of Kentucky John Calipari are one side, and Under Armour, the harbinger of all things evil (gasp, a shoe company!), on the other. Of course, that's just a matter of perspective; others may think differently.

This morning, Evan Daniels of Scout started the Twitter firestorm. He published an article with a pro-Maryland twist ($). According to the Harrison twins' father, Aaron Harrison Sr., Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon will be in town on Wednesday. It's either a culmination of a successful recruitment, or a last-ditch attempt to sway the boys from Blue & White.

USA Today's Eric Prisbell also got on the phone with the elder Harrison (story to come), and unleashed a few Twitter nuggets of his own. It provided more pro-Maryland fuel to the fire.

Ah, but lest ye be concerned, some prominent college basketball writers came to the defense of poor Kentucky and John Calipari. Or, well, you know, acknowledged there is a proverbial "war" going on. And it's more than simply between schools. HIDE THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN: THERE ARE COACHES AND CORPORATIONS INVOLVED.

If this isn't the most intriguing recruitment of the past 10 years, as 247 Sports' Jerry Meyer indicated yesterday, it's certainly up there. And I, like most people, can't wait for it to be over.

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Harrison Twins Plan to Announce Decision Thursday

As confirmed by multiple recruiting sites, twin brothers Aaron and Andrew Harrison from Fort Bend (Tex.) Travis plan to announce their college decision this Thursday. They will announce live on ESPNU at 5:00 p.m. The brothers are down to the Kentucky Wildcats and Maryland Terrapins, with the SMU Mustangs a distant third.

It was reported that Andrew Harrison tweeted earlier today: Thursday will be the toughest decision I ever had to make but I'm looking forward to it. However, it appears that tweet may have since been deleted.

Regardless of the status of the tweet, the announcement is set to happen, bringing to an end a long and winding recruitment. Both Kentucky and Maryland fans have reasons to be optimistic, and one of the truly exciting things about this recruitment is that the twins and their family have been so close-knit that any rumors tilting fully towards one school or the other simply cannot be believed.

The last in-person communication for Kentucky was an in-home visit from John Calipari on September 9. Maryland's Mark Turgeon and Bino Ranson were reportedly in Houston last week to see the twins.

It's this humble author's opinion that the Harrisons will pick Kentucky. Reading the tea leaves, I have long taken the position that their top priorities are to win big (an NCAA Championship, perhaps?) and to become top five NBA Draft lottery picks after their freshmen seasons. At no other school is that more readily available than Kentucky.

That said, it would not shock me to see them pick Maryland and return home to try and accomplish the same goals. One thing is certain: both fanbases are ready to hear the decision. As Ben Broman at Testudo Times succinctly puts it:

Who knows? Not me. Oh well. I can wait 'til 5:00 Thursday.

I think.

Maybe.

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