Our friends over at WildcatBlueNation.com have reason to believe that they would like Andrew and Aaron Harrison to attend Kentucky. Clearly. Unfortunately, we’ve got the same sentiment. So there are quite a few contrasting arguments being made at the time. We decided “Why not pick the five best reasons?” and hope the twins read said article and choose based upon these truths.
So, Mr. Bohlin of our site and Jason Marcum of theirs have decided to put forth their five best reasons why the Maryland Terps should get picked over the Kentucky Wildcats (or vice versa). We hope you guys enjoy this one, and debate away.
Five reasons why the Harrison Twins Will Choose Maryland
1) Six years worth of recruiting
Mark Turgeon has been on the trail recruiting Aaron and Andrew Harrison since the day he took the head-coaching job at Texas A&M University. Over the course of those years he has built up quite the rapport with the Harrison family and, despite what some national pundits might say, this is a very large factor in the twins’ recruitment. Harrison Sr. has a strong comfort level with Turgeon and has been quoted as saying that he is “The most upright citizen I have met in basketball.” This all goes back to the tragic death of one time Texas prep basketball player Tobi Oyedji who was committed to Turgeon and Texas A&M before losing his life in an automobile accident on his prom night. The way Turgeon handled that tragedy behind the scenes is something that clearly has stuck with Harrison Sr., who reached out to Turgeon afterwards to encourage him to start recruiting his sons. To have made an impression that strong on the father is something that will not be lost on the twins.
2) Connection to the state of Maryland
There are ties to the state of Maryland that cannot be ignored either. Aaron Harrison Sr. grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and the Harrison’s still have family in the area. The fact that the twins, were they to choose Maryland today, would have that sort of support so close to where they would be going to school is something that John Calipari and the Kentucky program cannot match. Calipari can sell the family on the allure of Rupp Arena and the loyalty of the Big Blue Nation as much as he wants but basketball fans and blood relatives are two very different things and in this case it plays into the Terrapins favor.
3) Shaquille Cleare
The current Terrapins freshman big man from Houston, Texas is one of the Harrison twins best friends from their childhood. Mark Turgeon was able to pull Cleare out of Texas and have him come to Maryland where, by all accounts and purposes, he loves life. Whether it has any bearing on the twins decision one way or another the fact that they have the option of playing, what is assumed to be, their only year of college basketball with someone they have been close with the majority of their lives has to be something that they would find quite appealing. Cleare seems to have been doing his best sell job on College Park and the Terrapins program as well this week according to his twitter updates.
4) The ACC
While it can go without questioning that the SEC is clearly the king of college football the same cannot be said about their basketball league. With the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame to the ACC the twins could be stepping into the best league in the country with a chance to compete against some of the best college basketball has to offer. Kentucky is the class of the SEC but once you get past them and the University of Florida there is a major drop off in the caliber of team you will see. I am confident in saying this as I attended an SEC school and have seen first hand what basketball in that conference is all about. The twins can go to Kentucky and have a great time running through the likes of Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and, as much as it pains me to say it, South Carolina. Or they can come to Maryland and give themselves the opportunity to compete at the highest level night in and night out as they ultimately are preparing themselves for what should be two long professional careers.
5) The Under Armor Connection
I don’t put as much stock into this as I do the reasons that have preceded it for a few reasons. In all the years I have followed recruiting I cannot remember a situation where the affiliation of an AAU team was a determining factor in where a recruit landed. While it can in no way hurt Maryland’s chances that the twins do have a history with Under Armour and have been in contact with reps from the company, specifically Chris Hightower who is in charge of basketball marketing for the company. Under Armour has clearly been good to the Harrison family as well as their AAU team the Houston Defenders during their allegiance. Clearly Under Armour wants to continue the positive press they have already received having an AAU allegiance with the twins but on the college level and are hoping that Mark Turgeon can close the deal keeping them away from Nike.
Just to quickly answer the debate as to whether this is as big for Nike as it would be for Under Armour to have the twins choose to go to a school they represent I think it is a much bigger deal for Under Armour. Nike already outfits the vast majority of high end college basketball teams and while they would love to outfit the twins in Kentucky blue I don’t think Phil Knight is losing any sleep over it. Under Armour, on the other hand, is still establishing itself as a player in the basketball world and having the opportunity to continue to market players the caliber of the Harrison twins would do wonders for their organizations advancement in the market.
Why the twins should select Kentucky