October 3, 2012

Direct Kick: Who will land the Harrison twins?

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Come 5 p.m. tomorrow Kentucky could be blue with sorrow or Maryland could be red with envy.

The highly-touted, heavily-recruited Harrison twins will make their announcement (on ESPNU, of course) as to which university they will attend and play basketball for.

The Texas brothers (Andrew and Aaron) are both ranked as top-five prospects in the class of 2013, Andrew, the top-rated point guard and Aaron, the fourth-rated shooting guard, are ranked second and fourth respectively in the ESPN 100. Insiders have speculated for months that UK is the team to beat, but of course, nothing will be concrete until Thursday’s decision.

The twins had originally set a late October date as to when they would make their decision, but for reasons known only to them they have moved it up to Thursday. Some believe they want to commit before other UK recruit James Young does. Who knows. On Monday Andrew sent out this tweet on his Twitter account: “Thursday will be the toughest decision I ever had to make but I’m looking forward to it.”

As usual, UK probably has the best shot since the Wildcats are coming off a national championship, but that doesn’t mean the Terps are totally out of the picture. The Harrison’s father is originally from Baltimore and reportedly wants his sons to attend Maryland. One of their best friends plays there. There have also be reports of dissension between the sons and their father which would tilt the scales in UK’s favor. The father has denied any problems between him and his sons.

No matter which school these two decide to attend, chances are they are one-and-done.

Personally I don’t like the one-and-dones, but I’m probably in the minority here. If a player only spends a year at a school then leaves, I really don’t feel like they were there at all. I would like to get to know the players and feel like they actually want to be at the school I root for instead of using it as a springboard to the NBA. Right now the only reason the top-ranked players attend college at all is because the rule says they must attend one year of college. Plus, you never really build a program that way. You might win titles, but what happens when that coach leaves and another comes in who doesn’t recruit that way? It will take the program a while to get back to where it was at.

Kentucky isn’t the only school this happens to, but they are the most high-profile due to the fact that John Calipari is the coach. Recruiting the one-and-done players is a specialty of Cal. He’s made a career out of it, though last season was his first-ever national championship.

Wildcat fans, for the most part, don’t care either if the players are only going to stay one year, as long as the bring a national title to the Bluegrass State. And that is fine. It’s like that at almost every school. Loyalty to the program means very little in today’s society. Championships mean more.

John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and many more played one year at Kentucky, but somehow I have a hard time feeling like they were really here. The funny thing is you learn more about the players during their recruitment than their actual time at the university. In fact, they are recruiting longer than they actually attend the school.

With all that, I have a strong feeling that UK fans will be the happy ones come 5 p.m. Thursday.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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