It’s become a “thing” for high school recruits to make their college choice announcement somewhat of a spectacle. ESPNU television specials have become commonplace, and at the pinnacle of it, we had Nerlens Noel and his flat top. Don’t get me wrong- I love the hype, love the excitement, love the (ugh) swag it showcases. However, after I got over my mild shock and elation at hearing the Harrison twins verbally commit to UK, I noticed something. Take a look:
What do you see in this picture? Besides that hot pink iPad cover, of course. My mom pointed this out to me: the twins were sandwiched by their parents. Symbolically framed by the two people closest to them and most invested in their well-beings. Nerlens’ or Shabazz’s parents weren’t sitting right beside them when they announced their college choice, but it sends a great message on the Harrison twins’ parts.
When we first started following the twins’ recruitment, we quickly learned that family is a value that’s held close to their hearts. The two are by all accounts inseparable;despite living in a six-bedroom house and Aaron and Andrew being the only children, they still sleep in the same room. And it appears that their parents share the same camaraderie. As… interesting as their dad has been during recruitment, it’s impossible to deny that he is passionate about his sons and their future success. He’s Papa Bear to the max. Their mom, like any good mom, is more concerned about their schoolwork, telling ESPN that when it came to what sold her on Kentucky, “I liked the wall with the GPA of the players on it. The GPA of the players that went to the NBA was great, and they are continuing to work toward getting their degrees.”
So why does that make them a perfect fit for Kentucky? At Calipari’s hands, the “La Familia” mentality reigns supreme. The staff and players are a close knit group, and the goal of the program is “players first.” Like any family, everyone is doing their best to help the others succeed and achieve their goals. Players refer to each other as brothers, coaches refer to the players as sons, and Mrs. Cal makes brownies for everyone. The Harrison twins will be leaving their small Texas bubble to leap onto the national scene- yet they’ll still have the family atmosphere to rely on during a difficult transition time. The twins’ inclusion of their parents on the national stage of their college announcement was a touching tribute to all the work their parents have done throughout the years to ensure their success, and it bodes well for the twins’ success at Kentucky and beyond.
A video entitled “Family Ties” goes a little deeper into how the twins’ closeness has facilitated their success on the basketball court. Take a look:
Welcome to the family, guys. You made the right choice.