After a sophomore season that saw them fall short of a national championship for the second year in a row, twin Kentucky guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison have declared for the NBA draft. Though talented, the dynamic duo are making an incredibly large mistake.
Don’t get me wrong. The Harrison Twins are both highly talented players and are strong enough athletes to make an impact on the professional level, but they are still far from ready.
As tempting the prospects of life in the NBA may be, the two should strongly considering returning to Kentucky for their junior year.
Let’s start with the numbers.
Aaron, who usually plays as the two-guard, posted 11 points per contest in his sophomore season. On the whole, that’s highly respectable for a guard who plays in a dribble-drive offense like that of Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
However, he shot only 39.5 percent from the field and 31.6 percent from long range. Of his 9.5 field goal attempts per game, 4.8 were from beyond the arc. To add insult to injury, his averages this year were down from his freshman season, when he averaged 13.7 points per game and shot 42.3 percent from the floor and 35.6 percent from three-point land.
Granted, the drop can be attributed to the additions of five-star big men Karl-Anthony Towns and Trey Lyles to Kentucky’s roster this past season, but the large drop in percentages cannot be ignored.
Now, let’s talk about his brother, Andrew, the point guard.
He averaged 9.3 points and 3.6 assists this season, down from 1o.9 points and four assists as a freshman. The silver lining is that his shooting percentages are up from last season, but even they aren’t impressive. He shot just under 38 percent from the field this season and 38.3 percent from long range, up from marks of 36.7 and 35.1 percent last year.
Though not as reliant on three-point shooting as brother Aaron, Andrew is still a bit trigger happy with his jump shot though he has the size at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds to be a great slashing guard a la former Calipari player and current NBA guard Tyreke Evans. That is, he could be that talented if he wasn’t leaving school so early.
Andrew’s draft stock received a major red flag last weekend after Kentucky’s Final Four loss to the Wisconsin Badgers. While his teammate Towns answered a question from a reporter about Badgers center Frank Kaminsky, Harrison muttered both an expletive and racial slur under his breath that was caught on a live mic.
Sure, he apologized for it, but it still makes him look like a head case and sore loser. On the NBA level, that attitude is not going to fly with any coach, let alone NBA veterans who realize playing in the league is a privilege.
Speaking of draft stock, neither of the Harrison Twins necessarily have a strong portfolio in that regard.
Andrew currently ranks 85th on the Top 100 Big Board on Nbadraft.net, while Aaron barely makes the cut at all at 98th. Ironically, the same site has Aaron projected as a late second round pick while Andrew is left undrafted. DraftExpress also has Andrew being selected in a similar position while Aaron is unselected.
While the Harrison Twins both definitely have what it takes to succeed in the NBA, now is not the right time for them to leave school. Sure, a lot can happen between now and draft day that suddenly ups their stock and makes them more desirable to scouts and executives, but there are just too many questions surrounding their respective skillsets and character right now.
Hopefully, if they are both destined to play in the NBA, they’ll work hard enough to make this writer eat his words.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to Bob Donnan / USA TODAY Sports