Kentucky Basketball: Wildcats Become National Title Favorites With Return of Harrison Twins
After narrowly losing the 2014 National Championship, there was a general consensus that Andrew and Aaron Harrison would leave the Kentucky Wildcats for the 2014 NBA Draft. But on Friday afternoon, the twins publicly stated that they are coming back to Lexington for the 2014-15 college basketball season, in turn cementing the Wildcats’ status as favorites for the 2015 National Title.
In bringing back Aaron and Andrew, Kentucky has a dynamic backcourt duo that perfectly complements one another and ranked amongst the best in college basketball as freshmen. Andrew brings back a vision with the ball that is uncanny from any college player, and when combined with great length and shooting ability from outside, he gives Kentucky a great point guard. Meanwhile, Aaron brings a great wing presence, as he can create his own shot, drive the rim and he showed the world that clutch shooting is not a problem. During the 2013-14 season, the twins both averaged more than 10 points and three rebounds a game, and these totals will surely rise next year.
Aside from just having two extremely talented backcourt players, the Harrison twins will bring back a degree of continuity and veteran leadership that has become rare under John Calipari. The great thing for the Wildcats is that the duo is not alone in returning, as seven-footers Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein as well as forwards Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress have all said they are coming back. This means that six of the Wildcats’ top eight scorers are returning, and for the first time at Kentucky, Calipari will have a returning core that was successful together.
On top of returning all of the main core that went to the National Championship except for Julius Randle and James Young, Kentucky has secured four of the top 25 recruits in the incoming class. Sure, there is really no way to tell how successful incoming freshmen will be before they hit the floor, but Trey Lyles, Karl Towns Jr., Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis will all be aided by not having loads of pressure thrown on them. In fact, none of the four could be described as likely starters this fall, giving Kentucky a bench core that would be key players on any other team.
All in all, the decision of the Harrison twins to come back this fall essentially gives Kentucky a core group of players that has already come incredibly close to winning a national championship and certainly has to be favorites to win in 2015. In fact, after years of speculation and hype, this may finally be the year that everything comes together and the Wildcats finish off a perfect season.