Aaron Harrison: more than a creator

By David Schuh | Managing Editor

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With a week left before Big Blue Madness officially inaugurates the new UK basketball season, head coach John Calipari is beginning to consider how he will utilize one of his most talented teams ever.

So talented, in fact, that he has a consensus top-10 recruit who has fallen through the cracks.

Freshman Aaron Harrison is expected to start at shooting guard in the Cats’ first game on Nov. 8. But in two months on campus, his projected impact has been overshadowed by his twin brother, Andrew.

Andrew Harrison is next in the line of Calipari point guards, a position Calipari has had unprecedented success coaching. Yet with two 6-foot-6, 215-pound guards on the court at the same time, he could see an entirely new level of production from the backcourt this year.

“In the small period of time I worked with him the other day, Aaron is unbelievable going to his left,” Calipari said. “Everybody is saying Andrew is way above Aaron — that’s not true.”

One of four top-10 recruits to commit to UK last year, Aaron Harrison’s expectations have been downplayed given Calipari’s dribble-drive style and the onus that it puts on quality point guard play. For Aaron Harrison, though, it’s a style that he believes suits the skills of he and his brother.

“I think the dribble-drive caters to how me and my brother play,” he said. “(Andrew) can create just as well as I can. People act like he is just a shooter … But he can really do it all.”

That has been the misconception between the identical Richmond, Texas, natives. Aaron Harrison has been labeled a creator, and Andrew Harrison has been labeled a scorer. But at any time, Calipari says, they can reverse roles.

“Yeah, yeah,” Calipari said to the prospect of the brother’s switching positions. “We can switch jerseys (too). There’s a lot of stuff we can do.”

Aaron Harrison, who said he never thought he and brother would go to different schools, will be surrounded by teammates with equal or more talent than him. And after a year in which his elder teammates saw lofty preseason expectations end in the first round of the NIT, he says this No. 1 recruiting class is prepared to back up their projections.

“It’s added pressure,” Aaron Harrison said. “But at the same time, we have so much talent that I feel like we can live up to those expectations.”

Related: Andrew Harrison: more than a scorer