Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Harrison Twins Don't Disappoint in Baltimore Debut

BALTIMORE --- In front of their extended family’s hometown, Aaron and Andrew Harrison amazed all those who came to see the two five-star recruits play against Nike’s Baltimore Elite yesterday night.

The duo lived up to every ounce of hype surrounding them in front of the jam-packed crowd at Baltimore City Community College, and the 100 or so Terps fans adorning Maryland pride jerseys, basketball jerseys or Under Armour gear associated with the school.

Yesterday night was about making a point and the Harrison twins did so with an exclamation mark. From the tip-off to the final whistle, the game was played at a dizzying fast pace. Spectators who didn’t turn their heads fast enough were sure to miss a highlight-reel play from either the twins or one of their teammates.

In the end, the Houston Defenders, an Under Armour sponsored team, walked out of the gym with their heads held high as they beat Baltimore Elite, 79-66.

One of the twins’ main connections to the city is their father, Aaron Harrison Sr., a Baltimore-native who played for Patterson High School in his playing days. Aaron Sr. coaches the Houston Defenders and oversees his sons’ recruitment, which as of recently has added a fifth school to their short list.

The twins are listing Baylor, Kentucky, Maryland, SMU and Villanova as being contenders for their services for the 2013 season:

Though they have kept which school is leading in their recruitment close to the vest, Baltimore Sun writer Connor Letourneau believes it’s really a two-horse race at this point:

"The Harrisons maintain they’re currently considering four or five colleges. Aaron consistently lists Kentucky, Maryland, Baylor and Villanova, while Andrew tacks on Southern Methodist.
 However, I couldn’t help but notice that both Aaron and Andrew listed Kentucky and Maryland first when asked to name their potential destinations Monday. They’ve followed this pattern in every other interview I’ve seen from them on the Internet.
 Am I overthinking this? Maybe. But I have a strong feeling this is a two-dog race.
 Kentucky makes sense for the twins for all the obvious reasons. It is a virtual factory for one-and-done prospects — which Andrew and Aaron both are — and would easily be a top contender for a national title with the Harrisons in Lexington.
 Maryland, on the other hand, has several strong connections with the Harrisons that could tip the scales in their favor. Their father and AAU coach, Aaron Harrison, Sr., is from Baltimore and is close friends with assistant coach Bino Ranson. The twins still have a considerable amount of extended family in the Baltimore area, and their friend and former Defenders teammate Shaquille Cleare figures to be an impact player on the Terps as a freshman this year.
 “It’s great,” said Aaron Harrison, who will make a joint college announcement with his brother on Oct. 28 (their 18th birthday). “My family’s down here, Shaquille Cleare, he played on my team last year, he’s down there.”" - Connor Letourneau

Though coaches were unable to attend the event per NCAA rules, Maryland fans received a small sample of what coach Mark Turgeon has been seeing since he was the coach of Texas A&M and the twins were ninth-graders in high school.

Aaron, the shooter, led all scorers with 35 points. When he wanted to get into the paint, he muscled his way into the paint. If he was looking to get a foul, he forced a number of players on the other team to foul him. And when he decided he didn’t want to do either of the former options, he stepped back and showed off his NBA shooting range, hitting shots from way behind the arc.

Andrew, on the other hand, had a modest game scoring wise, accumulating 14 points. Considered the better facilitator of the two, he displayed his ability to find the open man with a variety of tough and entertaining passes. He set up teammates with touch, no-look, behind-the-back, alley oop and even one between-the-legs passes resulting in a game-high seven assists.

Needless to say, the Harrison twin definitely lived up to the mounting hype surrounding them these days. What they also lived up to was the negative persona many have criticized them for as they have steadily ascended up the rankings.

The tension in the the gym was so palpable that any of the spectators at the game could have taken a knife and cut through it. From start to finish, the trash talking, fouls and verbal confrontations escalated.

If a player from Baltimore Elite said anything remotely insulting to the twins, they would rarely forego the opportunity to say something in retaliation. In fact one time, Daxter Miles shoved Aaron, and Aaron looked as though he was going to peg Miles with the ball until he reined it back in.

Another time, Andrew and Baltimore Elite coach Carlton Carrington exchanged some words as Aaron was shooting free throws. Andrew also yelled expletives after a number of missed free throws, and the twins spent more time criticizing than encouraging their teammates throughout the game.

While their talent and ability to give one of the five teams they’re considering a top five recruiting class is unquestionable, there are some negatives the pair brings to the table. Whether they’ll be worked out once they reach the collegiate level is yet to be seen.

That being said, the Harrison twins would still bring more pros than cons to Turgeon if he can convince them to come to College Park and play for the Terps. And if their father says he believes that coach Turgeon will help his boys become NBA-ready players, why shouldn’t Terpnation?


  1. I like the Twins' bravado when playing, but I hope they realize players will surely bait them into a possible technical or ejection for fighting if they engage players in college. Losing them on the court will obviously benefit the opposing team, regardless of who'll get ejected with them.

    That being said, and supporting your point about yelling at teammates, it's worth posting this link I found from 1 and 1/2 years ago that didn't get much publicity at the time. However, it's important to note that the Twins' teammate, Anthony Odunsi (a Senior last season), was just as responsible for starting what appears to have been an ongoing squabble that their head coach at Travis, Coach Brownson, never resolved (by various posted eyewitness accounts fwiw). It may have been a Sr. vs. Soph "pay your dues" ego issue. To me, it was just part of the deal in athletics, similar to the Steve Blake "top dog" Sr. vs. feisty Frosh John Gilchrist - "It's All in the Game"...I cannot find the video from the Houston Fox affiliate that was the only one to have footage when I saw it.