Harrison Twins

2013 guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison verbally commit to attend Kentucky


In one of the most important recruiting decisions in recent history, twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison (Richmond, Texas) have verbally committed to attend Kentucky.

The twins, who are both consensus Top 5 prospects and announced their decision on ESPNU, picked the reigning national champions over Maryland and SMU.

“We just sat down one night and decided that we wanted to go somewhere [where we knew] we could win as soon as we get there,” said Aaron on the telecast.

Calipari wins another high-profile recruiting battle, and landing the twins makes Kentucky a national title contender as soon as they arrive on campus next year.

“I think Coach Calipari presented a challenge for us and he just told us from day one it was going to be tough and he was going to push us every day,” said Andrew.

“And that’s what we really wanted to hear. We just want to become better players.”

In three seasons in Lexington, Calipari has seen 15 players selected in the NBA Draft and that track record has an impact on many of the nation’s most talented prospects.

The Harrison twins join Derek Willis in the Wildcats’ 2013 class and they certainly aren’t done either.

Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle, Marcus Lee and James Young are four other elite prospects who hold offers from Kentucky, and it still remains to be seen if 2014 stud Andrew Wiggins makes the move back into the 2013 class.

There’s also the matter of who leaves/returns to Lexington after this season, but with the players committed and who is remaining on the board the Wildcats will be OK.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.