After falling one win short of a national championship, Andrew and Aaron Harrison will return to Kentucky in an effort to finally get over the top.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports first reported the news, along with some details about the decision:
Aaron and Andrew Harrison have decided against NBA Draft, will return to Kentucky for sophomore seasons, source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 25, 2014
Harrison twins have been torn, going back and forth on staying or leaving Kentucky, sources say. Flip-flopped several times in recent days.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) April 25, 2014
Andrew Harrison confirmed the news via Twitter:
Aaron Smith of CatsIllustrated.com provides comments from both brothers:
Aaron Harrison: "I’m coming back in large part because last year’s title run was special, but we still have unfinished business."— Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) April 25, 2014
Andrew Harrison echoed brothers' thoughts: "I’m returning for my sophomore season because I want to win a national title."— Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) April 25, 2014
Kentucky passed along John Calipari's thoughts in their official release:
"I'm excited about Aaron and Andrew's decision to return for next season," head coach John Calipari said. "Their postseason play was a result of the improvement they made all season and displayed what they're capable of doing on the court. I look forward to having the opportunity to work with them during the summer and watch them lead next year's team."
The twins were thought to be two of the best recruiting prizes in history for Calipari when they announced their decision a year ago. Andrew was considered the No. 1 point guard and Aaron was considered the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2013 class, according to 247 Sports' composite rankings.
While they struggled with consistency early—like the rest of the Wildcats roster—each player eventually found his groove and performed extremely well down the stretch. The Harrisons were key to the squad's surprise run from a No. 8 seed to the national title game.
Both players saw their stocks surge after the postseason run, but they wanted to receive NBA feedback before making a choice on leaving school. Aaron Harrison explained his cautiousness to DeAntae Prince of Sporting News: "It's basically my career really. Don't leave anything out. Think about all the angles and everything that goes into it and just try to make the best choice for your family."
In the end, it seems like it was the best decision for both players to build off their freshman years and continue improving in college.
Is this the right decision for the Harrison twins?
In the 2013-14 season, Andrew Harrison averaged 10.9 points and four assists per game. He proved that he is a shoot-first point guard with the athleticism necessary to drive the lane and score at the rim, but he is still learning how to look for others and run an offense.
He was considered the No. 31 prospect in the 2014 NBA draft class, according to Chad Ford of ESPN (subscription required). Coming in two spots later at No. 33 was his brother Aaron.
The shooting guard was more of a scoring threat this season, averaging 13.7 points per game while being much more aggressive from the outside. He hit 35.6 percent of his three-point attempts, although he would get on hot streaks where it seems like he could not miss.
Harrison also proved his clutch ability by hitting a number of key shots late in games in the NCAA tournament, including this game-winner against Wisconsin in the Final Four:
He also made a big shot against Michigan in the Elite Eight, gaining him plenty of respect from teammates:
Alex Poythress on Aaron Harrison's stretch of NCAA Tournament clutch shooting: 'Stone cold killer, right there.'— Mark Story (@markcstory) March 31, 2014
With the pair returning, Kentucky should once again be one of the top contenders for a national title. Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein are also returning to pair with incoming recruits Karl Towns, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker and more.
It will be a challenge for the coaching staff to keep everyone happy when it comes to minutes, but there is not a team in the country with more talent on the roster. If they can reach their potential, they should cruise to a championship.
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