April 25, 2014

Harrison twins will return to Kentucky

Kentucky basketball's frontcourt next season will be stacked. And now its backcourt will be back.

Twin guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison announced on Friday that they'll return to Kentucky, joining a trio of frontcourt players who'd previously announced they'll be back. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news prior to the twins confirming via their Twitter accounts.

In a release from UK, Aaron Harrison said he was returning in part because "last year's title run was special, but we still have unfinished business," and Andrew Harrison said, "I'm returning for my sophomore season because I want to win a national title."

The move likely will put the Wildcats -- who will return three starters -- atop most preseason polls next season.

The Cats will add a pair of McDonald's All-Americans to the backcourt -- point guard Tyler Ulis and shooting guard Devin Booker -- but the return of the Harrison twins gives UK a pair of starting guards with significant college basketball experience.

The twins together started 39 of 40 games for UK's national runner-up team -- Jarrod Polson started for Andrew Harrison on Senior Night -- and came on strong late in the season.

Andrew Harrison averaged 10.9 points, four assists and 3.2 rebounds per game. Aaron Harrison was UK's third-leading scorer at 13.7 points per game, adding three rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.

Aaron Harrison made 62 three-pointers in his freshman season -- including dramatic ones late in NCAA Tournament wins against Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin -- and Andrew Harrison 33. Along with Young, they were the only Wildcats to make double-digit three-pointers this season.

Kentucky will return a plethora players from its frontcourt rotation -- sophomores Willie Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress and freshmen Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee -- and now will have an experienced backcourt to match.

Though the Cats lose their top two scorers in freshmen Julius Randle and James Young, both of whom entered the NBA Draft, the return of the twins means UK brings back 59.2 percent of its 2013-14 scoring.

The Harrison twins alone accounted for 52.2 percent of UK's assists.

"I'm excited about Aaron and Andrew's decision to return for next season," head coach John Calipari said in a release. "Their postseason play was a result of the improvement they made all season and displayed what they're capable of doing on the court. I look forward to having the opportunity to work with them during the summer and watch them lead next year's team."

Neither twin was considered a lock to be selected in the 30-team first round of the June 26 NBA Draft. Only first-round picks are given guaranteed contracts.

ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford ranked Andrew Harrison the No. 31 prospect in the draft and has Aaron Harrison at No. 33. DraftExpress.com didn't project either Harrison in this year's draft, but has Aaron as the No. 26 pick and Andrew the No. 31 pick in 2015.



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