Who’s Got Next? Harrison Twins Pick Kentucky; Parker & Randle Trim Their Lists…Posted by rtmsf on October 10th, 2012
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Chad Lykins, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to who the hot prospects are at the lower levels of the sport. We also encourage you to check out his contributions dedicated solely to Duke Basketball at Duke Hoop Blog. You can also follow Chad at his Twitter account @CLykinsBlog for up-to-date breaking news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Double Dip for Coach Cal
In what is being referred to as the best package deal in high school recruiting by a number of national recruiting analysts, twin brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Fort Bend Travis High School (Texas) verbally committed to the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday, October 4. Andrew, the top rated point guard and No. 2 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 and Aaron, the top rated shooting guard and No. 4 overall prospect, chose the Wildcats over the Maryland Terrapins and SMU Mustangs. The addition of the Harrisons will automatically vault the Wildcats as the No. 1 overall class in 2013 over SEC rival Florida.
“Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us. He would push us every day,” Andrew said. “We just want to be better players.” Aaron added: “Also, coach Calipari did not guarantee anything and we liked that.” The announcement comes after an intense summer of recruiting for the twin brothers. Throughout the AAU evaluation period, coaching staffs from the final three schools were spotted at almost every event that the Harrisons participated in with their AAU club, Houston Defenders.
In the end, it was a neck-and-neck race between Kentucky and Maryland with SMU a distant third in the running. Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon battled for the services for the Harrisons up until the very last minute. Turgeon even made a visit on Wednesday in an attempt to make one final impression on the Harrison family. A Maryland commitment would have clearly brought the Terrapins back to national relevance.
Speculation ran rampant throughout the week leading up to the announcement that the decision may have been swinging in Maryland’s favor, mainly because the mainstream gear brand Under Armour was playing a huge role in the recruitment. Under Armour outfits both the Terrapins and the Harrison’s AAU club coached by their father, Aaron Harrison Sr.
However, it was Calipari, widely considered the best modern-day recruiter in college basketball, who won out yet again. Calipari and his staff had tracked the brothers for the past couple of years and made a pair of in-home visits in the past month. After not seriously pursuing any other guards in the 2013 class, the full-court press was on for the services of the Harrisons who will mostly likely play for the Wildcats for one season before leaving early for the NBA Draft in 2014. Both players are projected as high 1st round draft picks. Calipari and his Wildcats will enter the 2013-14 season with arguably the best backcourt in the country.
Andrew possesses a lethal combination of size and strength at the point guard position comparable to most guards in college and even the NBA at 6’5″. He is a terrific playmaker and a dangerous scorer who can get into the lane and finish under contact with his great strength. Aaron, who also stands at 6’5″, is regarded as one of the best pure scorers in the class of 2013. He can score in a variety of ways whether it be from outside or attacking in the paint. He is also outstanding at sprinting the floor in transition and spotting up. Truly the best part of their games though is their intense competitiveness on the basketball court.
The Harrisons will join power forward Derek Willis as Kentucky’s three verbal commitments in the 2013 class. They will officially sign their national letters of intent during the early signing period, which is November 14-21. Kentucky is also on the short lists of 2013 prospects Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, James Young and Marcus Lee as well as the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2014, Andrew Wiggins, who figures to reclassify into the class of 2013. As juniors, Andrew averaged 12 points, 6 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game while Aaron averaged 18 points, four rebounds and two assists for Travis High who finished as the Texas Class 5A runner-up.
Jabari Parker Narrows List to Five Schools
Jabari Parker, the No. 1 overall ranked prospect from the class of 2013, trimmed his list of 11 schools down to five on the evening of October 5th. The 6’8″ small forward out of Simeon Career Academy (Illinois) is now down to the BYU Cougars, Duke Blue Devils, Florida Gators, Michigan State Spartans and Stanford Cardinal. Parker released the news of his top five schools a day after scheduling his third official visit with Florida, which will happen from November 2-4. Parker is also rescheduling his visit to Michigan State after having to cancel his original visit on September 28 and will officially visit Duke on the weekend of October 27 for the Blue Devils’ first exhibition game. It still remains to be seen if Parker will schedule visits to BYU and Stanford as he plans to make his college decision during the early signing period in November. He has visited both campuses in the past.
Known as a do-it-all small forward, Parker can affect the game in a variety of ways. He is an outstanding all-around scorer. He is capable of creating and scoring off the bounce and is a great passer in traffic. He plays with a great motor and rebounds the basketball exceptionally well. If you had to pick a weakness from Parker’s game, that would be his defense on the ball. He has great length but his quickness on the defensive side needs tuning up.
Duke and Michigan State have shared the role as favorite for Parker throughout his entire recruitment and BYU remains a heavy sleeper due to Parker’s Mormon religion. However, Parker’s basketball future plans could potentially be placed on hold due to the recent change in Mormon rules. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently lowered the age minimum for Mormon men to serve a two-year mission from 19 years of age to 18. Parker, who turns 18 next March, had originally planned on attending college for his freshman year, then deciding whether to go on a mission or enter the NBA draft.
“I want to go (on a mission). But I have doubts,” Parker told Sports Illustrated in May. “The NBA is the biggest dream of basketball players, and I’m no different.”
Parker’s older brother, Christian, served a mission from 2006 to 2008. On top of Parker’s recruitment and pending decision on a two-year Mormon mission, he is also nursing a right foot injury that he suffered in the summer playing for Team USA during the FIBA U17 World Championship. Doctors have told Parker that the fracture in his right foot will completely heal in four to six weeks. He is scheduled to begin rehabilitation in two weeks.
As a junior at Simeon, Parker averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. He helped lead Simeon to a school-best record of 33-1 and their third consecutive Class 4A state championship. Parker was recognized as the 2011-12 Gatorade National Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year and the first non-senior to capture the Illinois’ Mr. Basketball Award.
Julius Randle Down to Six Schools; Duke & UNC Not Included
The nation’s top power forward prospect from the class of 2013, Julius Randle, has narrowed his list. After conducting 10 in-home visits, six schools made the cut for Randle including: Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, Oklahoma and Texas. The news came on Tuesday, October 2 through the Twitter account of Randle’s high school, Prestonwood Christian Academy (Texas). Noticeably missing from the new list were the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. Both Duke and North Carolina were seen as favorites to land Randle throughout his entire recruitment, especially the Blue Devils who many pegged as Randle’s top choice along with Kentucky. Baylor and Oklahoma State were the other schools eliminated.
The 6’9″ left-handed power forward is one of the more special players in at the high school level. A potential future NBA All-Star, Randle is as talented as they come for a player of his size. He is arguably the best inside-out player in the country. The best facet of his game is being able to size up his defender and take them off the bounce and get to the rim at will or shoot over them from deep. He is a pure animal in the low post with a terrific post game. He runs the floor extremely well and is virtually unstoppable on the fast break. Randle possesses great strength and overpowers the opposition. For his size, Randle is a great passer with even better court vision.
Of the six schools remaining, Kentucky has placed itself as the proverbial frontrunner for Randle. Randle actually made a visit to Lexington in September for the Wildcats’ alumni weekend. Along with Kentucky, Florida sits in a comfortable position after having Randle on their campus this past weekend. Florida head coach Billy Donovan coached Randle on the Team USA U18 national squad last summer. Randle was joined by a pair of top-ten Florida commits Kasey Hill and Chris Walker. Randle has stated that he plans to be patient with his decision and will more than likely make his final decision official in the spring.
More Recruiting News and Notes
- 2013 power forward prospect Austin Nichols took an official visit to Duke over the weekend. The 6’8″ Nichols out of Briarcrest High School (Tennessee) is one of two remaining key targets for the Blue Devils in the 2013 class. The Blue Devils look to add a big man to their roster for the 2013-14 season as they will lose both seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. At this point in Nichols’ recruitment, it appears that Duke and the Tennessee Volunteers will battle head-to-head to land the Memphis native.
- Speaking of the Blue Devils, word has made rounds that a pair of consensus top-five recruits from the class of 2014 will be in Durham for Duke’s “Countdown to Craziness.” Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1 center in the 2014 class and Tyus Jones, the No. 1 point guard, will be in attendance together at the midnight madness event. Both players have spoken publicly about playing together in college. Okafor and Jones are currently the top two targets on the Duke recruiting radar in 2014.
- Roselle Catholic (New Jersey) power forward Tyler Robersontook an official visit to Syracusethis past weekend. The top-30 prospect from the class of 2013 is a multi-talented combo forward. The Orange have been pursuing Roberson for a couple of years now and is in great position to land the multi-talented combo forward. Roberson visited SMU the weekend before and has visits lined up with Kansas (Oct. 19), Kentucky (Nov. 2) and Villanova(TBD).
- Fresh off of a Final Four appearance one year ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes had some big names on campus this past weekend. The Buckeyes hosted 2013 prospects small forward Ishmail Wainright, center BeeJay Anya and local power forward product Nigel Hayes. Wainright recently trimmed his list to four schools including the Buckeyes, Baylor, St. John’s and Texas. Anya lists the Buckeyes along with Indiana – where he will attend their Midnight Madness event on Oct. 19-21 – Louisville, North Carolina State and Pittsburgh. Hayes has completed his final official visit of four scheduled. He lists and has visited Minnesota, Stanford and Wisconsin.
- 2013 center prospect Karviar Shepherd ended his recruitment Monday night as he verbally committed to Texas Christian University and head coach Trent Johnson. Out of Prime Prep Academy (Texas), Shepherd is a top-50 prospect and a nice haul for the Horned Frogs. Shepherd should make an immediate impact as a freshman. He has a smooth offensive game including a solid post game. He is also very active on the defensive side of the ball by altering numerous shots. Shepherd is the second commitment for the Horned Frogs, joining guard Brandon Parrish. Shepherd was also recruited by Big-12 schools Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
- Also picking up a commitment on Monday was the Kansas Jayhawks as they landed point guard Frank Mason, a former Towson commitment. Kansas had been hot on the trail in landing a point guard from the 2013 class, but they had missed on prospects Anthony Barber, Chris Jones and Demetrius Jackson. Unranked in most recruiting rankings, Mason is a heady guard who is quick in fast-break situations and can finish in traffic. Mason will now join consensus top-40 prospects Conner Frankamp and Brannen Green in the Jayhawks’ 2013 class.
- On Tuesday, class of 2013 point guard Rysheed Jordan released his top six schools. They include: Alabama, Rutgers, St. John’s, Syracuse, Temple and UCLA. The 6’4″ Jordan has great size at the point, facilitates the ball extremely well and has great length on the defensive end against opposing guards. Jordan is expected to be on the Syracuse campus this weekend. Jordan also visited Rutgers last week. He plans to cut his list down to three soon.
- Speaking of point guards, 2013 prospect Roddy Peters remains on the board and is planning on making two visits in the near future. The 6’4″ Maryland native is planning to visit Kansas and UCLA. He will be on the Jayhawks’ campus on October 19 and is still scheduling a visit to Westwood. The Jayhawks just snagged fellow PG Frank Mason, but is still showing interest in Peters though that should diminish. Peters is also considering Georgetown, Maryland, Rutgers and Xavier. Maryland is the school being most talked about in relation to him. The hometown school missed on point guards Andrew Harrison (commitment to Kentucky) and Rysheed Jordan (cut from list) and is planning on putting on the full-court press in landing their PG for the future. They’ve trailed Peters for a while and has been considered a leader at different points in his recruitment. He is expected to be on the Maryland campus for their Midnight Madness event this weekend and is planning on making his college decision towards the end of the month, per his mother.
YouTube Video of the Week
Check out the Harrison Twins in action!