When it comes to twins playing together, usually they complement each other like peanut butter and jelly. The prime example of this is the case of the Lopez twins, Brook and Robin who played together at Stanford, Brook was the offensive player while Robin focused on locking down the paint defensively.
This is again the case for Aaron Harrison and his brother Andrew,who we covered yesterday, together they form a back court tandem that is hard to stop. Whether or not they share the vaunted twin telepathy or are just accustomed to playing with each other, they work well together and provide an incredibly effective one two punch.
Like his brother, he was born in Fort Bend, Texas, which is where he also played his basketball career. The Harrison brothers are sort of unique when it comes to high school basketball in that they did not leave home to attend a basketball prep school. It didn’t hurt either of the brother’s recruiting chances as they were both highly ranked coming out of high school.
The Harrisons wanted to be a package deal because they wanted to keep playing together. Ultimately the final choice became the Kentucky Wildcats because of the school’s ability to churn out NBA players like no other institution.
Here is a video of Harrison’s highlights as a high schooler.
Where Andrew is the ball hawking, driving guard, Aaron is more of a shooter. He has an excellent long shot that cannot be left open under any circumstance. His range stretches out to the NBA three point line already and he should be a dangerous shooter in college. His ability to leak out in transition and spot up for threes is excellent and really forces defenses to always keep an eye on him. That alone limits opportunities for offensive rebounds as defenses are more worried about running back down the court to stop the outlet pass than anything else.
Since he is a twin, it should come to no surprise that he has similar measurements to his brother. He is a 6″5, 200 plus pounds guard with great speed and athleticism. Harrison is more than able to create his own offense off the dribble, especially in situations where he is able to create a mid range shot for himself.
For a shooting guard, Harrison has great rebounding instincts which should translate immediately to the NCAA game. He knows where the ball is going to be going off the rim and is able to get to the spot he needs to be and use his bigger frame to box out his man. In high school, he averaged 5.5 rebounds per game so expecting a similar number shouldn’t be too much to ask at Kentucky.
Defensively, Harrison is an excellent weak side blocker thanks to his athleticism. He is a smart basketball player who knows how to come over from the weak side and stop an attempt at penetration at the rim with a well timed block. Harrison’s ball swatting abilities are comparable to a young Dwyane Wade who in his athletic prime, was one of the most fearsome shot blocking guards in the history of the NBA.
As well, on defense, Harrison has shown great instincts at reading and playing the passing lanes. He can use his long arms to reach out for passes that opposing players think are safe to throw until Harrison gets in the way of them. This goes along with his great basketball IQ as Harrison is one of the smartest recruits in the class of 2013. His IQ will go a long way to helping him get better as a player because he has shown great ability to adapt and react to situations as they occur. That is the sign of a great basketball player.
Aaron is far less polished than his brother Andrew, he also does not seem to have the high ceiling that his brother has. He is clearly talented, but it looks like he has already reached a lot of his potential as a basketball player and his improvements will mostly come by being more and more consistent every year.
As an offensive player, he will need to work on his ball handling. While he can create with the ball in his hands, his dribbling is not very strong and facing off against stiffer basketball competition, it will be tough for Harrison to use his dribbling as a means to create offense.
Another issue on the offensive end is that Harrison relied very heavily on transition offense in high school to score points. In college, teams are better suited at defending the fast break and there are simply not as many fast break opportunities. Because of that, Harrison will have to focus on learning how to operate in a half court offense more comfortably to be a constantly effective scorer.
While Harrison is a great shooter, he has not shown the ability to create for his teammates like his brother Andrew has. It seems more like Aaron only has one function as an offensive player which is to score. That’s fine if that becomes his clearly defined role at Kentucky, but having the ability to find shots for his teammates would make Harrison a much more versatile and hard to stop offensive player.
On the defensive end, he has the length and speed to be a truly special player. Harrison is not a bad defender by any means but like a lot of high school player, he will have to focus on learning the fundamentals of on ball defense. While blocks and steals are great, they don’t always translate into perfect defense and that is what Harrison will need to learn. He will have plenty of time for that at Kentucky with the great coaching staff that will know how to use his athleticism and wing span to its maximum potential.
What to expect at Kentucky:
Once he arrives to Kentucky campus, Harrison will become on of the campus superstars. Along with his brother and the other four all americans, they will form the most fearsome recruiting class in history.
On the court though, Harrison will have to prove himself worthy of minutes. He will have competition at the shooting guard position from another incoming freshman, James Young, and it will be interesting to see who wins the starting role.
The flipside to that however is that Harrison is one of the freshmen with a little less pressure on his shoulders. Dakari Johnson, Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison are all expected to do big things out of the gate. Aaron is not as highly heralded and might even be slipping under the radar a litte bit.
With his shooting ability, Harrison will find scoring opportunities at Kentucky and might even become the designated late game three point taker. He will have plenty of chances to prove how good he can be and I think he will surprise a lot of people with how well he does as a freshman. The real question will be whether he decides to stay more than one year in college because if he does, he could become a monster NBA prospect with a couple of years of Calipari coaching.