What an afternoon.
After weeks and weeks of speculation, Andrew and Aaron Harrison decided to put the NBA on hold for one more season and return to the Kentucky Wildcats for a sophomore campaign. The two guards met with John Calipari this morning in his office to presumably notify the head coach of their decision. And boy what a decision they made.
It was a forgone conclusion when the Harrison twins committed to Kentucky last year that they would spend one season in Lexington and then head to the NBA. Andrew was a top 10 draft prospect and Aaron was firmly in the first round. But their freshman season didn't start off on the best foot. Both struggled to find consistency on offense and Andrew had a tough time adjusting to running the office as do most college freshmen point guards.
The low point hit against South Carolina on the road as Kentucky lost to the last place Gamecocks. But Aaron pledged a dream ending for the team and the twins were instrumental in delivering on that promise. Both played their best basketball of the season in the NCAA tournament, and that led Kentucky all the way to the national title game. Andrew played efficient, pass first basketball while Aaron hit dagger after dagger, propelling the team all the way to the final NCAA game of the season.
The latest mock drafts had the Harrisons projected as late first round or early second round draft picks. Nothing in the NBA was guaranteed, therefore another year at Kentucky was their best option.
With the twins returning, Kentucky is truly stacked. Every position will boast a five star prospect, and almost all positions will be filled by multi-year players. They are deep from point guard to center. The are most assuredly will be the preseason number one team in the country and the favorites to win an NCAA Tournament title.
The Wildcats roster will be staggering, and it may look something like this:
PG- Andrew Harrison, Tyler Ulis, Dominique Hawkins
SG- Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, Dominique Hawkins
SF- Alex Poythress, Trey Lyles, Derek Willis
PF- Karl-Anthony Towns Jr., Trey Lyles, Marcus Lee
C- Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns Jr.
Be excited BBN. Be very excited. We should all feel like this right now:
Here are the official press releases from UK:
Freshman guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison will return to the Kentucky men’s basketball program for the 2014-15 season, they announced Friday.
Aaron Harrison started all 40 games for the Wildcats during the 2013-14 season and averaged 13.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He knocked down three of UK’s all-time most memorable shots in three consecutive games in helping UK past Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament to reach the national championship contest.
"I’m coming back for a second season in large part because last year’s title run was special, but we still have unfinished business," Aaron Harrison said.
Andrew Harrison started 39 games for UK and poured in 10.9 points and added 4.0 assists per game. He dished out three or more assists in seven of UK’s final nine games. His-20 point performance led all Wildcat scorers in an upset of No. 1 seed Wichita State in the NCAA Tournament.
"I’m returning for my sophomore season because I want to win a national title." Andrew Harrison said.
"I’m excited about Aaron and Andrew’s decision to return for next season," head coach John Calipari said. "Their postseason play was a result of the improvement they made all season and displayed what they’re capable of doing on the court. I look forward to having the opportunity to work with them during the summer and watch them lead next year’s team."
Sophomores Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress and fellow freshmen Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee have already announced their intentions to return for the 2014-15 season.
With the announcement of the Harrisons, Kentucky is set to return 67 percent of its assists (300), 65 percent of minutes played, 59 percent of its scoring (1,773) and 54 percent of its rebounds (872) produced from its Final Four squad.
Additional returnees include freshmen Dominque Hawkins, Derek Willis and EJ Floreal, who all saw action this season. The Wildcats will also welcome the No. 2 rated recruiting class in the nation that sports four McDonald’s All-America and Jordan Brand Classic players in Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Karl-Anthony Towns and Tyler Ulis.