Freshmen Focus: Harrisons Take Step Forward, But NBA Personnel Say They Shouldn’t Come Out

If I told you before the Louisville-Kentucky game that Julius Randle would miss most of the second half with cramps, how many of you would’ve said Kentucky would win the game?

Maybe a few diehard Big Blue Nation fans, but it would’ve been a tough bet to take.

But that’s in fact what happened due in large part to the twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison combining for 28 points, including 11 during a critical second-half stretch, en route to Kentucky’s 73-66 win on Saturday.

Kentucky had to feel good about winning the game without Randle and with the twins taking a step forward as they head toward conference play.

“Andrew at the end of the game, I thought grew up, did some good things and ran our team,” coach John Calipari said.

“He did, but he still has a ways to go,” he added. “Now, what I liked when the game was on the line and the game was in the balance, he made good plays.”

Andrew finished with 18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 turnovers in the win.

“We improved on toughness and playing as a team, everyone getting the ball and contributing to the win,” Andrew Harrison said. “We never got down on ourselves and really showed heart. We knew we had to bring it to win this game and we did.”

Aaron, last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week, scored 10 points but went 0-for-3 from the arc.

Still, despite the step forward the Harrisons appeared to take in the game, NBA personnel don’t believe they’re ready to come out this year.

“I just think they should both stay in school,” one veteran NBA scout said after the game. “There’s nothing that either one of them brings that makes you say, ‘Wow, this guy is my point guard or my two guard of the future.’”

DraftExpress.com already moved the twins into the 2015 Mock Draft from 2014, as we reported here.

“Andrew is a mid-first-round pick anyway and the other one can’t play dead so it doesn’t matter,” one NBA executive told SNY.tv.

There is a lot of time left in this season and anything could happen. Like Marquis Teague a few years back, the twins could raise their stock during a March run.

But imagine for a moment that the twins do come back to Kentucky next season.

That would have implications for incoming guards Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker (and potentially Rashad Vaughn), allowing them to develop under the twins as freshmen.

It would make Kentucky a much deeper team in 2014-15, giving them an added blend of sophomore “veterans” and raw freshmen.

If Dominique Hawkins, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson all come back as well, Kentucky all of sudden looks even more loaded next season, when Duke figures to be the preseason No. 1.

But that is then and this is now.

And for now, the Harrisons appear to have taken a step forward.

***

With that in mind, here’s a brief breakdown of the five top freshmen and what they’ve been doing and what’s ahead. In future weeks, we will feature other top freshmen, including Kansas’ Wayne Selden, Kentucky’s James Young, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh, Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis, LSU’s Jordan Mickey and others:***

**ANDREW WIGGINS, 6-8 SF, Kansas

Stats: 15.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.5 apg

Next 3 games: Today vs. Toledo, Jan. 5 vs. San Diego State, Jan. 8 at Oklahoma

Mock Drafts: Draft Express No. 1, The Big Lead No. 1.

What to read: NBA still high on Wiggins despite lackluster play.

A tale of two Canadians: Ennis succeeding at Syracuse, Wiggins adjusting at Kansas

 

**JULIUS RANDLE, 6-9 PF, Kentucky

Stats: 18.1 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 1.7 apg

Next 3 games: Jan. 8 vs. Mississippi State, Jan. 11 at Vanderbilt, Jan. 14 at Arkansas

Mock Drafts: Draft Express No. 2, The Big Lead No. 2.

What to read: Magic, Jalen Say Randle Should be No. 1 Pick.

 

**JABARI PARKER, 6-8 SF, Duke

Stats: 22.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.8 apg

Next 3 games: Tuesday vs. Elon, Saturday at Notre Dame, Jan. 7 vs. Georgia Tech

Mock Drafts: Draft Express No. 3, The Big Lead No. 3.

What to read: NBA Assistant: Jabari Parker Would Help Multiple Playoff Teams This Year.

Duke’s Parker Can Envision Playing with Okafor Next Year

 

**AARON GORDON, 6-9 PF, Arizona

Stats: 12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.4 apg

Next 3 games: Thursday vs. Washington State, Saturday vs. Washington, Jan. 9 at UCLA

Mock Drafts: Draft Express No. 6, The Big Lead No. 7.

What to read: Guard Play has Arizona Poised for Big March.

Coach K: ESPN is Overhyping the Diaper Dandies

 

**JOEL EMBIID 7-0 C, Kansas

Stats: 10.5 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.1 apg

Next 3 games: Today vs. Toledo, Jan. 5 vs. San Diego State, Jan. 8 at Oklahoma

Mock Drafts: Draft Express No. 4, The Big Lead No. 4.

What to read: Tyshawn Taylor says Kansas had three one-and-dones

 

**For more stories on Andrew Wiggins, click here.

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21 comments
Gregory Bush
Gregory Bush

@AdamZagoria As a Kentucky fan I would love to see the twins come back for their sophomore year.

I'm not gonna be one of those Kentucky fans that complain about one & dones and not knowing the players every year.

What I am tired of is the preseason rankings that put so much pressure on these heralded high-school phenoms who are not college tested.

I try to watch all the Kentucky recruits before they come to Kentucky to get a feel for their game.

What I would like to see at Kentucky is more players staying for their sophomore year and mix in a smaller freshman class.

I believe this would be a scenario that is not likely to be seen,but it sure would be interesting.

gskrep
gskrep

@AdamZagoria it would be smart of them to stay another yr considering their class of players

awireman
awireman

@AdamZagoria Aaron Harrison "can't play dead" in the NBA? Really? That guy needs to watch a few more Kentucky games.

Beezermc
Beezermc

@awireman on Aaron, exactly. Hell, he has been better than advertised

EvanDaniels
EvanDaniels

@AdamZagoria It's a safe bet they'll both play in the NBA ... If that's "can't play dead" hate to see what he would say about a non NBA guy

TADT1221
TADT1221

@AdamZagoria 13 games in and are just now looking comfortable. Knee-jerk BS as usual. Lay down and chill a minute.