Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NBA Scout: Aaron Harrison Better Pro Prospect Than Andrew
INDIANAPOLIS — It’s possible that both Andrew and Aaron Harrison will never enjoy pro careers that match their college ones.
Though they never won an NCAA championship during their time at Kentucky — losing in the national championship game to UConn in 2014 and in the national semifinals to Wisconsin this year — they played at the very highest level in college for the past two years.
Now both face decisions about whether to go pro, even as one NBA scout tells SNY.tv they are among a group of at least five Kentucky players who “are gone” to the NBA.
“I think I gotta take some time,” Aaron Harrison said after Kentucky’s 71-64 loss to Wisconsin, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, “because you can’t make the right decision with emotion on you.”
Slumped at his locker, Andrew said something similar, according to the paper.
“I’m not even worried about that right now,” he said. “I’m just spending these last moments with my guys.”
Andrew also made headlines for using profane language and a racial slur directed at Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky, for which he later apologized on Twitter.
DraftExpress.com currently has Andrew projected as the No. 53 pick in the Draft, while Aaron is projected to go undrafted.
But the NBA scout told SNY.tv he believes Aaron will get drafted before Andrew because he has a definite position (shooting guard) and skillet.
“To me, I would only take Aaron,” the scout said. “I’d only draft Aaron and I’d take him in the second round. I wouldn’t draft Andrew. Someone may take him. To say that he doesn’t get drafted, I think that they probably both get drafted.
“Aaron gets drafted higher than Andrew and it’s been that way for two years. At least he can shoot. At least he can say he can be a 2 guard in the NBA, I don’t know what Andrew is. I mean, I just don’t see what his skill set, how it applies to the NBA, other than being a big guard. He’s had some moments this year, but overall not great. The whole body of work is not good to me. I think Kentucky wants them out and they don’t want to stay. They have both told everybody they’re leaving regardless.”
Ironically, if there was no one-and-done rule, both players may have been taken as first-round picks — and possibly lottery picks — out of high school.
“The rules don’t help kids like that because coming out of high school… [the NBA] would’ve said, ‘Hey, we’re going to draft them based on potential,'” one coach at another D-1 school told SNY.tv. “When you go to college you become exposed because the college game doesn’t translate to the pro game. It never has, it never will.”
The coach agreed with the NBA scout that both twins will end up leaving Kentucky in part to make room for Kentucky’s next recruiting class, which includes Roselle (N.J.) Catholic point guard Isaiah Briscoe. The Wildcats — and Briscoe — are also recruiting fellow McDonald’s All-American Malik Newman, who is also considering LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, N.C. State and Kansas.
“[Kentucky coach John Calipari] has to push [the Harrisons] out because if he does not he’s not going to be able to recruit ’15s or 16s,” the coach said.
Photo: USA Today Sports
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.