The comments regarding the Harrison Twins’ commitment to Kentucky have been flooding social media and the internet in general since their announcement just after 5:00 p.m. Some have called John Calipari and Kentucky a dynasty, a kingdom, a powerhouse, or some other variation of a similar sentiment. Others have simply called it the first step in securing another consecutive #1 recruiting class. Everyone was impressed with the haul, though not necessarily surprised– considering Calipari has continuously closed well with recruits even when another school seemed to be right there in the hunt.
CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello tweeted that Maryland had everything going for them, except John Calipari. And if we’ve learned anything since his arrival at Kentucky, he’s the ace in the hole. Borzello went on to write:
“Maryland had essentially everything going for it when it came to Andrew and Aaron Harrison. There was the six-year relationship head coach Mark Turgeon had with the family. There was the friendship Aaron Harrison Sr. had with assistant coach Bino Ranson, and the friendship the twins have with incoming Maryland freshman Shaq Cleare. The twins’ grandparents live in Baltimore. And of course, Under Armour.
Kentucky had John Calipari. And Calipari doesn’t lose. In the end, that’s all the Wildcats needed.”
“The Harrison twins had, quite literally, EVERY reason in the world to go to Maryland. Their father grew up in East Baltimore and still has plenty of extended family in the area. Their father also has a terrific relationship with assistant Bino Ranson and with head coach Mark Turgeon, who he refers to as the “most upright citizen I have met in basketball” after seeing the way that Turgeon handled the death of a recruit named Tobi Oyedeji. The twins are also very close with a former AAU teammate named Shaquille Cleare, who is currently a freshman on the Maryland roster.
All that comes before you take into account the Under Armour factor. Under Armour was founded by a Maryland alum and former football player. Maryland is the apparel company’s flagship program, much the way that Oregon is for Nike. Under Armour has also sponsored the twin’s AAU team – coached by their father – for the past couple of summers. And pops also admitted to USA Today that the only person allowed to call his son’s cell phone was a rep from Under Armour.”
Maryland had as much of an “in” as anyone has had when it comes to a recruiting battle with John Calipari. But it simply didn’t matter. Whether or not you consider it to be Calipari’s most impressive recruiting haul of all time, or just Calipari doing what Calipari does best, today was another monumental moment for Kentucky basketball and the direction it has been going in, and continues to go in for the next few years.