Another ESPNU news conference, another NBA-bound basketball recruit — or, in this case, two top-rated recruits — another briefly tense moment for fans, another recruiting victory for John Calipari. It’s practically clockwork.
Aaron and Andrew Harrison — twins, backcourt mates, the top-rated shooting guard and point guard in the class of 2013, respectively, and the “best package deal in the history of college hoops recruiting,” as ESPN’s Dave Telep called them — had entered the day with recruitniks essentially split on their potential choices.
Kentucky was always tough to beat, of course, but Maryland had all the connections. Earlier this week, Aaron Harrison Sr. sang the praises of Under Armour representative Chris Hightower to USA Today — the only person he allowed direct access to his sons, he said — for his tact throughout the recruiting process. The Harrison twins’ AAU team was sponsored by the sudden grassroots power, whose founder and CEO is Maryland alumnus Kevin Plank; they wore Under Armour uniforms and Under Armour shoes. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon began recruiting the twins when he was still coaching at Texas A&M; Harrison Sr. said Turgeon was the “most upright citizen I have ever met in basketball.” Maryland assistant Bino Ranson and Harrison Sr. were likewise close.
[Mark Cornelison/Getty ImagesCutting down the nets has only increased John Calipari’s ability to entice recruits.
In the end, not a lick of it mattered. Not after Calipari coached the top two picks in the draft, and sent six players in on one night, and not after his players — from Anthony Davis to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to Brandon Knight to John Wall to DeMarcus Cousins to Tyreke Evans to Derrick Rose — have utterly dominated the highest reaches of the NBA selection process for the past five years. Not with Calipari’s close connections to William “Worldwide” Wesley, and rappers Jay-Z and Drake, still fresh on every recruit’s mind.
Not now, not mere months after Calipari cut down his first national title nets with one of the most talented teams in recent college hoops history.
“We wanted to go some place we could win,” Aaron Harrison, stiff in his suit and tie, said to the ESPNU cameras. “We knew we could win as soon as we got there.”
Here’s a scary thought: For as well as Calipari has recruited in the past five years — for as good as his classes (ranked No. 1 from 2009-2011, and No. 2 in 2012) have been — he may now just be arriving at the peak of his powers. (The Harrison twins, dynamic forces each to their own, practically guarantee one of the best, if not the best, recruiting classes in 2013-14. And he still has more work left to do.)
After April, Calipari isn’t merely offering the NBA and the chance to meet Jay-Z, as if that wasn’talready enough. Now he has the national title. Now he has proven his hyper-accelerated one-and-done blueprint can work. Now he’s shown that the best players in the country really can have it all: immediate success; national title shots; the adoration of the nation’s most insane fan base; and, after all that, the end result of NBA riches. At UK, Calipari says, there is no need to trade any of it off. And he’s right.
That Maryland went toe-to-toe with this monolithic machine and nearly emerged victoriouscounts as a victory in and of itself. Terrapins fans desperate for a rebirth under Turgeon won’t like to hear that, I’m sure. But it’s true.
Because right now, nobody beats Kentucky for recruits. All your stars are belong to Cal. Resistance is futile. Year in and year out, from now until Calipari decides to do something different with his life, Kentucky is going to keep getting the best players in the country, keepchurning out teams that defend like crazy, and keep challenging for national titles. Like clockwork.
I will never sugarcoat it. It’s plain and simple–Mark Turgeon and Bino Ranson have done everything humanly possible to land the twins. Why? Because Turgeon knows that added to the existing players that will be at Maryland next year, the addition of Andrew and Aaron will elevate this team into the top reaches of the NCAA. That’s a fact. Not based on film but based on talent. Andrew is the number 1 prospect in the nation but mark my words, brother Aaron is the best 2 guard I have seen come into the NCAA ever. There will be no bridge jumping by me if we lose the twins to Calipari but I will be sick because they belong at Maryland. That’s my take.
Terrapin times Dan Painter, the most knowledgeable reporter on Maryland basketball recruiting will be on Terp Talk tomorrow discussing the Twins’ decision.
Come Thursday night, either Kentucky or Maryland will have the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country.
That is the day the Andrew and Aaron Harrison will announce their college decision. Rumors had surfaced throughout Monday that a decision could be coming this week, but Andrew seemed to confirm it via Twitter.
“Thursday will be the toughest decision I ever had to make but I’m looking forward to it”
Andrew, a 6-foot-5 point guard, is ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the class of 2013, while Aaron, a 6-foot-5 scorer, is slotted behind him at No. 4. The two are supremely talented, and are capable of going on dominant stretches.
Kentucky was long thought to be the favorite for the twins, but Maryland closed the gap in a major way over the past couple of months. It’s at the point right now where the decision could be too close to call. Kentucky is Kentucky, but Maryland has the Under Armour angle — the twins played on the Houston Defenders, an Under Armour-sponsored AAU team — and the Harrisons also have family ties to the area.
Andrew and Aaron Harrison have a different opinion than their father on where they should go to college, a Division 1 source close to the recruitment told SNY.tv. “The boys want to go to Kentucky, the dad wants them to go to Maryland,” the source said. “The dad’s from there. He and [Maryland coach] Mark Turgeon have known each other a long time since Mark’s days at Texas A&M. But the boys want to go to Kentucky.” The source added: “I think the boys will win out. If they can be first, if nobody will commit to Kentucky first, I think the boys will go to Kentucky. The dad favors his hometown.”
from insidemdsports.com Aaron Harrison Sr responded:
“That’s just [the reporter of the story] doing his thing. I’d talked to him one time a few months ago and he re-worded what I said and took it all out of context in his article, so I don’t talk to him anymore. Maybe that’s why he had to write something. He makes up things and runs with them for attention,” Harrison said.
While Kentucky and Maryland are widely believed to be the favorites for the Harrisons, according to many the top-ranked point and shooting guard in the country, they’ve kept tight control of information relating to their recruitment – so much so that well-placed analysts and college recruiters still seem largely in the dark as to where they’ll end up.
Although it’s been a high-profile recruitment for more than two years, information leaks have been virtually non-existent because the elder Harrison has steadfastly refused to reveal any intimate details of their thought process to anyone outside of his immediate family.
“Here’s the thing. He can say it’s an unnamed source, but I promise you there’s no sources with us. Unless you’re me, my wife, Aaron or Andrew, or their grandparents, you’re not going to have anything to say because no one else knows about our confidential discussions. And my wife and our parents haven’t talked to anyone about it. I changed the kids’ numbers, so the two coaches have their number and no one else calls,” he said.
But Turgeon didn’t sign Xavier’s top returning scorer to have him for this season. It would be a nice bonus, but it’s not a necessity.
Turgeon said he has tried to balance the classes at his previous stops at Wichita State and Texas A&M, adding four-year transfers along the way.
“What we’ve tried to do is sprinkle in good freshmen with transfers,” he said. “It’s an avenue I’ve taken with every program. Is it something we’ll do every year? I doubt it.”
Turgeon’s plan is to always have a scholarship or two open for transfers like Smotrycz and/or Wells.
“At this level you have to do that,” he said. “Ideally, you want to keep one open for situations like this. It’s a lot easier to keep 10 or 11 players happy on scholarship and redshirt a few more.”
The Terrapins needed a slasher, defender and player who would be interchangeable for 2013 — and Wells was an Atlantic 10 rookie first-team member a year ago, averaging 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Turgeon said the Class of 2013 isn’t deep on the perimeter, and the Terps are realistic as to what they can get to make them better. Having Wells on the court in 2013-14 likely is an upgrade from the high schooler they could grab at that swing position.
Don’t sell Maryland short on the recruiting front, though. Turgeon is still trying to land two of the top four prizes in the class in Andrew and Aaron Harrison, a pair of perimeter players who said they will attend the same school. The Harrison twins are likely going to College Park for Midnight Madness on Oct. 12, according to a source. But Maryland will have to beat out Kentucky to land the pair from Texas, which would be a monumental task. Villanova, SMU and Baylor are also in the mix.
Turgeon has landed elite players so far: Nick Faust last year and Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman this year. Turgeon also brought in an assistant with deep DC-Baltimore ties in Dalonte Hill.
So what will the Terps look like on the court?
Assuming Wells doesn’t gain immediate eligibility, UM will have 10 players to use this season. So Turgeon is being careful with his optimistic outlook. He said Cleare and Layman have had very good summers, as has Faust and shooting guard Seth Allen. He said 7-foot-1 center Alex Len has gained a much-needed 20 pounds.
“I like the work habits,” said Turgeon, whose Terps began workouts on Tuesday. “The chemistry is really good. It has been a pleasant surprise that we’ve been better than anticipated.”
Does that translate into an upper-division finish in the ACC? The three Triangle schools — North Carolina, Duke and NC State — likely will jockey with Florida State for spots 1 through 4.
But Maryland, Miami and Virginia should be in the next tier as teams that can contend for an NCAA tournament bid. And if Wells does get eligible? Look out.
Turgeon took a chance on Wells considering the allegations and the on-court suspension. But adding a quality player from a high-profile school is the norm for him and plenty of others.
Programs like Kentucky, Duke and UNC have all had transfers recently. That’s the new norm in order to keep up. Blending the classes with transfers and high school seniors is now expected.
The bottom line is that Turgeon has Maryland relevant and in the news, which isn’t easy to do in a conference dominated by a pair of blue-blooded giants.
Williams knew this all too well during his career. Turgeon is following his blueprint as best as possible early on.
The Harrison Twins will announce Oct. 29 at Fort Bend (Texas) High School,Andrew Harrisonconfirmed to SNY.tv Monday night. The news was first reported via Twitter by Nick Jones. Aaron and Andrew Harrison are considering Baylor, Kentucky, Maryland, Villanova and SMU and recently told SNY.tv they are hearing the most from three of those schools. “Baylor, Kentucky and Maryland, they pretty much contact us on a weekly basis,”Aaron Harrison Jr. said at the Big Strick Classic in New York.
NEW YORK – The Harrison Twins are moving closer and closer to ending the suspense about their college choice, and they say three schools are contacting them the most at this point.
“Baylor, Kentucky and Maryland, they pretty much contact us on a weekly basis,”Aaron Harrison Jr. told SNY.tv in the above video interview prior to going for 11 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists as the USA team beat the NYC team, 87-86, Saturday night in the Big Strick Classic at City College of New York.
“So I mean all those three, they pretty much contact us every day, every week.”
SMU and Villanova are also in contention for the talented twins, but the aforementioned trio of schools appears to be leading the pack.
The Harrisons could have teamed with Andrew Wiggins at the Big Strick, but the 6-7 Wiggins was held back in Toronto due to weather conditions.
“It’s a lot of great players here,” Aaron said. “I wasn’t looking forward to playing with one. I love playing with great players.”
All three stars could potentially end up at Kentucky in 2013 — assuming Wiggins opts to reclassify to 2013 from 2014 and then chooses the Wildcats — but Aaron Harrison said he’s not thinking about specific other players — Wiggins, James Young, Julius Randle, etc. — who could join the twins at Kentucky.
“I mean, they always have a good class of players,” Aaron said. “Coach [John] Calipari knows how to put a lot of great players together and make them win so he would just have another great class.”
Andrew, who had 15 points, 6 rebounds and 6 turnovers in the Big Strick, echoed those sentiments.
“I’m not sure about who’s going there [to Kentucky] and who’s not, so I can’t really answer that question,” Andrew said.
Aaron said he hasn’t spoken to Wiggins or any other Kentucky targets about potentially playing together.
“No, not really,” he said. “I mean me and my brother, we’re going to play together wherever we go.”
Randle may not sign until late, well after the Twins have decided. If the Twins pick Kentucky, Randle could end up at North Carolina, Duke, Kansas, Baylor or another location.
As for Maryland, they remain a viable option for the Twins, who have family in Baltimore.
“Maryland presents a lot of things,” Aaron said. “It’s close to my family, Coach [Mark] Turgeon recruited me when he was at Texas A&M. It’s close to my family, I like the way they play.”
Added Andrew: “It’s a family atmosphere. The ACC is a great conference and Coach Turgeon is a good coach. Coach Bino [Ranson], I like those guys.”
Baylor is close to the Twins’ home in Dallas and is also in the mix.
“Baylor, they’ve been recruiting me since i was in 7th , 8th grade,” Aaron said. “I’ve been going up there since about 8th grade. I just like the atmosphere. I just like Coach [Scott] Drew, he’s energetic.”
Said Andrew: “It’s close to home, it’s great coaching.”
SMU is also close to home, even if they joined the recruitment late.
“I might take a visit to SMU in September,” Aaron said. “Coach [Larry] Brown, he’s an experienced coach, he’s coached a lot of great players. That’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to play with a coach like that.”
Said Andrew: “Great coaching staff they had. Just the facility. Dallas is a really nice place.”
Villanova is the final option.
“They always do a lot with their guards,” Aaron said. “Their guards are successful and it’s not that far away from the Baltimore area.”
Added Andrew: “The way they get to use their guards, it’s a guard-dominated system that Coach [Jay] Wright has.”
The Twins haven’t picked a specific date to announce, but are still targeting sometime in September or October following their visits.
“I’m trying to take a couple visits in the fall, early September and make my decision from there,” Aaron said.
Kelly Kline/GETTY IMAGES – Aaron and Andrew Harrison during a portrait session at the National Basketball Players Association camp last month in Charlottesville. The Harrisons are considered two of the top prospects in the class of 2013, and say they will go to college as a package deal.
By Mark Giannotto, Published: July 17
BALTIMORE — Aaron and Andrew Harrison, twin brothers from Fort Bend, Tex., are perhaps the most highly regarded package deal college basketball has ever seen. MarylandCoach Mark Turgeon has made them the centerpiece of his recruiting efforts this year, a task made harder because the Harrisons are also considering Kentucky, Baylor, Villanovaand SMU.Considered two of the country’s top 10 prospects in the class of 2013, according to every major recruiting entity, they form a physical back court — Andrew is the point guard, Aaron is the shooting guard — that plays with a swagger born from a saying their father, Aaron Sr., learned growing up in Baltimore: “We are the bullies. We don’t get bullied.”
They’ve shared a room at home since birth and never thought of going to college at different schools. Whatever program lands them when they make a decision on Oct. 28 — their birthday — will instantly see their recruiting class become one of the best in the country.
So it was no surprise Monday night at Baltimore Community College that a crowd of about 400, many clad in Maryland gear, treated the twins like rock stars when they came to Baltimore to play in front of their extended family in an exhibition game.“We try to be kids as much as we can, but everyone likes attention. Everyone likes eyes on them,” Aaron Harrison said. “You just have to perform on the court and live up to the expectations.”
This basketball journey started on the football-crazy fields of Texas, where Aaron was a star quarterback and Andrew played running back. But once their father started an Amateur Athletic Union team full of football players and both sons grew to 6 feet 5 inches, it became clear their futures lay on the hardwood.
Andrew Harrison said their dynamic on the court developed “naturally” as he took on the role of facilitator and Aaron became the scorer. He equated the relationship to two equally important pieces of a puzzle.
“Everything about them is different,” said Aaron Harrison Sr., who coaches his sons as part of the Houston Defenders AAU program. “How they play is different. How they walk is different. How they talk is different. They’re just totally different people. The skill level, I think, is equal, but Andrew’s mentality is just to get everybody involved and Aaron’s mentality is to get buckets, so that works great together.”
Maryland is very much in the picture for the talented guards, for a number of reasons.
Aaron Harrison, Sr., starred at Patterson High in Baltimore before joining the military and moving to Texas, and his “entire family” still lives in the area. Meanwhile, former Houston Defenders teammate and friend Shaquille Cleare will be a freshman at Maryland this year, a commitment Aaron, Sr., called “very influential” in his sons’ decision-making process.
Aaron Harrison said the biggest points of emphasis for him and his brother are finding a school with a family atmosphere and a style of play “that’s gonna get me to the NBA.”
No factor, however, weighs more heavily than Aaron Sr.’s respect for Turgeon, who has been recruiting Aaron and Andrew since his days at Texas A&M. It dates to Turgeon’s treatment of former Aggies recruit Tobi Oyedeji, who died in a car accident in May 2010.
“He did some things behind the scenes that he doesn’t want anybody to know. It was really a stand-up kind of moment for me,” Aaron Sr. said. “That way I knew, even at A&M, if I sent my kids to him, he would take care of them.”
His two sons were offering few hints as to whether that relationship will eventually make them Terrapins. After Monday’s game, both Aaron and Andrew barely flinched as they were flocked by autograph seekers campaigning on behalf of Maryland.
They, like the college basketball world, can only hope at this point.
“I really can’t worry about them,” Andrew Harrison said. “The most important thing is what’s best for me and Aaron, not really what everybody else wants me to do.”
Kevin Plank on Randy Edsall: “Randy Edsall is a good, strong, decent man who is working his tail off on behalf of the University of Maryland,” Plank said. “And there are more people that want to spend their days burning things down than building it up. At least just stop rooting against him. You know, give the guy a chance.”
Baltimore Metro Girl’s Lacrosse Player of the Year Taylor Cummings Calls in To Discuss the Under Armour Games and her commitment to Maryland
A great week of Football recruiting for Coach Edsall is reviewed
Terrapin Academic performance surges
Lady Terps place 10th in Capitol Cup
The unveiling of the new Football field
Brian Farrell, Paul Rabil and the Defending Champion Boston Cannons come to Annapolis to take on the 1st place Bayhawks
The Harrison twins pay an unofficial visit to College park on Tuesday
First 3 game times are announced for Terrapin football