A great team usually has a great big man on its roster, like I covered yesterday with Dakari Johnson. It also usually has an elite ball handler who can create offense for the rest of its teammates. Especially recently, point guards have become a blend of scoring, passing and tremendous athleticism.
In this recruiting class, Andrew Harrison is the undisputed best point guard and of course, he is committed towards going to the Ketucky Wildcats. Harrison, along with his twin brother Aaron, played their high school basketball for the Fort Bend Travis Tigers in Texas where they won a 5A state title in their senior year.
While both brothers were highly recruited in high school, they wanted to continue playing together at the next level and they wanted a big program. They decided that John Calipari’s Kentucky program was the best for them, becoming 2/6th of what might some day be considered the best recruiting class of all time.
Harrison is a great athlete combined with some awesome basketball talents, here is a video of his highlights.
At 6″5 and over 200 pounds, Harrison has amazing length and weight for a point guard. It allows him to use his big frame to get where he wants to go on the court and put the ball in the basket. With is size advantage, he can be used down low against smaller point guards and if they try to put bigger defenders on him, he can blow by them with his quickness. His size also makes him a great finisher at the rim where he has a great touch and feel for the basket. He can elevate over his opponent and put the ball up at the right angle almost every time.
While he is a point guard, he has the ability to make the switch over to shooting guard if need be. This is not only because of his height but because he is able to play off the ball and knows how to use cuts and screens to his advantage. His shooting stroke also shows signs of being excellent though it is still a little bit streaky at the moment.
He’s not just a player who relies on his height though, Harrison is a tremendous ball handler. In one on one situations, he can break down his defender and get by him with his dribble moves. Paired with his great ability to make shots off the dribble, it makes it hard to guard Harrison because he can go with many moves to get to where he wants to go. He also knows how to create his own shot excellently and isn’t afraid to call his own number if he feels his team needs it.
Not only can he score, he has already displayed tremendous vision as a point guard and has shown to be a willing passer. If he catches a defensive rebounds, he throws some of the best outlet passes in basketball and knows how to properly start a fast break. His point guard style is the sort who likes to drive into the paint and dish out on the perimeter, he is very good at finding open teammates at the last second.
Defensively, Harrison seems to lapse from time to time. He is also not particularly effective as a defender and does not really change the game on that end of the floor. Sometimes, it seems like he takes possessions off to get his energy back for the offense. He will need to work on his perimeter defense in College as to not become a liability for his team.
Questions about his ability to play point guard in the NCAA have been raised. While he is a great passer and has the tools to become a top flight point guard, Harrison often becomes set in one function. If he decides on a certain offensive trip that he is going to shoot the ball, he won’t change his mind. Sometimes, Harrison will fail to see open teammates because he is too focused on what he has decided he wants to do.
As well, while his size is a great advantage, he tends to rely on it a little too much. Once he gets to the NCAA, defenders will be bigger and stronger and Harrison will need to be able to use his skills to score because often times, his size won’t be enough. This comes with understanding how an offensive system works and how to use that system to create opportunities for your teammates and yourself.
Finally, Harrison, according to many scouts, is a very emotional player. He lets his feelings boil over on the court too often leading to him complaining to referees or yelling at teammates. Not only is this bad in terms off possibly getting a lot of technical fouls, it shows bad leadership. Harrison needs to control his emotions a bit more, as the point guard, he is the team’s on court leader and needs to act that way.
What to expect at Kentucky:
Harrison will fit in right away as the Wildcat’s primary ball handler. While he may struggle at times with his role as the point guard, Coach Calipari and his staff will be there to help him. The combination of size and skill that Harrison was gifted with is too good not to have an instant impact in the NCAA.
Expectations for Kentucky are high coming into the 2013-14 season, as the team’s point guard, Harrison will bear the brunt of the pressure and I’m sure that it will weigh on him at times. Thankfully, he has an extremely talented roster to lean on and they will be there to help him out if he does struggle from time to time.
While there does not appear to have been a standout player out of the Wildcat’s tremendous recruiting class, at least not yet, Harrison has great potential to be that guy. The team will need to figure out some sort of hierarchy to function as a roster and Harrison has the pedigree to be the number one player on a team, I suspect that is what will happen.