Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Harrison Twins Pick Kentucky Over Maryland, SMU; Wildcats Poised For Another Special Recruiting Class
In a packed gym in Travis (Texas) High School, Andrew and Aaron Harrison brought an end to arguably the most hyped basketball recruitment in recent memory Thursday when they chose defending NCAA champion Kentucky over Maryland and SMU on ESPNU.
“For the next four years we will be attending the University of Kentucky,” the twins said to applause in the gym.
The twins said they wanted the opportunity to win “as soon as we get there” and liked the challenge that Kentucky coach John Calipari presented them.
“I think Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us,” Andrew said. “He just told us from day one it was going to be hard, it would be tough and he was going to push us every day and that’s what we really wanted to hear. We just want to become better players.”
Some of the suspense was drained from the announcement after a Kentucky recruiting site reported Wednesday that the twins had already committed to Calipari despite meeting Wednesday with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. Citing a Division 1 source, SNY.tv reported last month that the twins wanted to attend Kentucky.
Kentucky now has two of the Top 5 players among the Sheridan Hoops Top 20 Prep Prospects.
Both 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, Andrew is the top point guard in the Class of 2013 , while Aaron is the premier shooting guard.
“In my estimation, this is the most talented set of twins to ever enter college basketball,” ESPN analyst Dave Telep said on air.
Both are considered one-and-done and nobody does one-and-done like Calipari.
“I know [Calipari’s] track record, of course,” Andrew said. “He has a lot of high draft picks as point guards and I just want to become better every day. I just want to get there on campus and show them what I can do.”
Kentucky now has the potential to land yet another extremely special class.
They remain involved with power forwards Julius Randle, Marcus Lee and Trey Lyles, shooting guard James Young and small forward Andrew Wiggins, who may or may not reclassify to 2013 from 2014.
The 6-foot-9 Randle, who recently cut his list to six, including Kentucky, told SNY.tv in August that he had no objections to playing alongside the twins — despite rumors to the contrary.
“Yeah, for sure, I’d consider playing with them,” Randle told SNY.tv. “I mean, just playing with great players make the game easier itself, so of course I’d consider playing with them.”
Asked how good a Kentucky class featuring the twins, himself and perhaps Wiggins would be, Randle said, “I think I’ve said it before, we would have the best class, if not the best class they’ve had before.”
Young’s Godfather, Sean Mahone, similarly told SNY.tv Young would consider joining such a star-studded group.
“Yeah, yeah absolutely,” Mahone said last month.
“You play with Wiggins, you play with the Harrison twins, you play with Julius Randle, I would envision an up-and-down game and an opportunity for people who pose a threat from the outside to be able to given that opportunity. Simultaneously, if you have an opportunity to get to the bucket and create some things, I think it just presents a very interesting scenario, I really do.”
Wiggins, meantime, is the top overall prospect in high school basketball and is due to visit Kentucky Oct. 12 for Big Blue Madness.
He told SNY.tv over the summer that Kentucky and Florida State were coming after him the hardest.
His brother, Nick, is on record saying he wants Andrew to attend Kentucky.
“I would love to see him go to Kentucky,” Nick, a 6-foot-6 wing who will attend Wichita State, told NorthPoleHoops.com.
“Personally, I think he’s ready now,” Nick added. “Personally, I think the class of 2013, that would be a good class for him to come out in now and showcase his talents because he’s ready.”
If Kentucky can add some combination of Wiggins, Randle and Young to the Harrison Twins, Calipari may have done his most impressive recruiting job ever.
Photo: CBS Sports
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.