Some excerpts from around the web about Aaron and Andrew Harrison picking Kentucky.
For all of his unbelievable accomplishments in the realm of recruiting, John Calipari had never landed the two best guards in one single class.
He has now.
Andrew and Aaron Harrison committed to the University of Kentucky in a made-for-ESPN special from their high school gym in Houston, Texas, on Thursday. The Harrison twins are the two highest-rated guards in the class of 2013, and Scout.com ranks them as the 2nd- and 3rd-overall prospects in the nation.
Maryland had essentially everything going for it when it came to Andrew and Aaron Harrison. There was the six-year relationship head coach Mark Turgeon had with the family. There was the friendship Aaron Harrison Sr. had with assistant coach Bino Ranson, and the friendship the twins have with incoming Maryland freshman Shaq Cleare. The twins’ grandparents live in Baltimore. And of course, Under Armour.
Kentucky had John Calipari. And Calipari doesn’t lose. In the end, that’s all the Wildcats needed.
There was a point when Maryland seemed to have the edge on both the Wildcats as well as SMU, which had also been given consideration when Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown was hired in the spring.
Aaron Harrison Sr.’s roots are in Baltimore, where his parents still live, as well as the fact that the AAU team he coached was funded by Baltimore-based Under Armour, which also outfits the Maryland athletic teams, seemed to be turning the outcome in favor of the Terps.
The Harrisons long have been known to be a package deal for one college team. Aaron, the shooting guard, is ranked No. 3 in the Rivals 150 for the class of 2013. Andrew, the point guard, is ranked No. 4. That they planned to attend the same college brought their decision into the national spotlight because it was expected to make an instant impact on whatever team they chose.
Travis won its first regional title last season before losing to Lewisville Flower Mound Marcus in the championship game. Andrew Harrison averaged 12.1 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Aaron Harrison averaged 18.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.7 assists.
And, 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.
Keep in mind, the last time that Coach Cal lost a recruiting battle — when Shabazz Muhammad opted to go to UCLA instead of Kentucky — it was quite obvious to those in the know what the outcome was. Why? Because Adidas had a firm grip on Muhammad. They sponsored his AAU team. They even had a sponsorship deal with his sister, who was a professional tennis player. There was no way they were letting him go to a school sponsored by Nike. If it wasn’t UCLA, he would have been headed to Kansas or Baylor or another program repping the three stripes. It seemed like Under Armour had a firm grip on the Harrisons.
In simpler terms, Coach Cal reached into Texas and beat out a school that had much better relationships with the players and that also happened to be the highest-profile program of the shoe company that had sponsored them throughout their last years in high school.