NBA Personnel Interested to See Harrison Twins, Towns at Calipari Combine | Zagsblog
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Tuesday / June 18.
  • NBA Personnel Interested to See Harrison Twins, Towns at Calipari Combine

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    HarrisonsWhen John Calipari holds his groundbreaking combine showcasing his loaded Kentucky team for all 30 NBA franchises, some NBA personnel will be especially interested to see how Aaron and Andrew Harrison have developed, and just exactly what the upside is on 7-foot freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, who excelled on the team’s recent trip to the Bahamas.

    The twins considered jumping to the NBA after their freshman seasons, but opted to stay in college amid projections that they would both be late-first/early-second round picks at best.

    “The Harrions are talented guys,” one veteran NBA scout who plans to attend the combine Oct. 11-12 told “What you’re looking for is, you want to see the growth that they made from last year, the awareness, the maturity, what’s happened over the summer, how hard they worked, all of that will start to be evident.

    “And they’re all pieces to the puzzle, there’s nothing like the real games when they’re playing the opposition. But Coach Cal is more than smart enough. That’s why they will play five-on-five as well as pick-and-roll drills because he knows that’s what we need to see because we have to see their overall grasp of how to play the game.”

    Said a second NBA scout: “Anybody who was following that team this summer in the Bahamas notices that the Harrison twins have gotten better.”

    As Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out in his story breaking the news of the combine, Kentucky’s roster includes five players in Draft Express’ list of the Top 30 prospects in the world: Towns, a freshman projected at No. 3, Willie Cauley-Stein, a junior projected at No. 10, sophomore center Dakari Johnson (No. 21), sophomore guard Andrew Harrison (No. 28), and sophomore forward Marcus Lee (No. 30).

    The first NBA scout said he’s also interested in seeing the 7-foot Towns, the reigning Gatorade National Player of the Year who led St. Joe’s-Metuchen to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title last year.

    “I think we’ve all seen Towns developing coming up and we want to see where he is today,” the scout said. “I mean, you want to see how far Dakari Johnson, how far he’s come. Cal has a a number of guys, any one of them could break out and elevate themselves. That’s why it’s an early look.”

    Said the second scout: “Everybody’s going there to see Towns. They can tell you they’re going to see the other guys, but they’re going there to see Towns because everybody looks at big guys first and they want to see Willie Cauley-Stein and see how he’s playing.”

    As Wojnarowski points out, the combine also won’t hurt Calipari and Kentucky in the recruiting department. Kentucky currently has just one commit, Charles Matthews for 2015, but remains in the mix for several elite players, some of whom are already in the Mock for 2016, including projected No. 1 pick Jaylen Brown, No. 4 Cheick Diallo, No. 5 Malik Newman, No. 7 Isaiah Briscoe, No. 8 Brandon Ingram and No. 9 Henry Ellenson.

    “Absolutely,” the first scout said. “That’s one of the things that he has going for him. He knows that his whole program is an NBA showcase and all the high school kids know that, that’s part of the reason they go there. That’s on their agenda, that’s what they want, and the people around them want. They want the high visibility, and there’s nowhere where the visibility is higher than at Kentucky.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.

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