The basketball ends up in Aaron Harrison's hands (doesn't it always?) with the biggest game of the season on the line. This sure looks like his One Shining Moment, a final defining image for an NCAA Tournament marked by the Houston-raised twin's no-way big shots.
Harrison squares up to fire — as UConn braces for the jumper that will crush its audacious dreams . . .
Off the side iron . . . Miss!?
"I knew it wasn't good as soon as I shot it," Aaron Harrison says later in a quiet locker room deep in the bowels of Jerry World. "I didn't get squared up quite right."
With that, Kentucky's shot at roaring by UConn and the Harrison Twins dream of ending their largely disappointing freshmen seasons with a national championship is gone. Aaron Harrison's 3-point look late in the second half marks the last time Kentucky will have an opportunity to take the lead.
To call the Harrison Twins' decision to stay at Kentucky a surprise is a complete joke. One that only media outlets still caught up in their high school rankings could make.
That miss is probably the best thing that's happened to Aaron and his point guard brother Andrew Harrison. It effectively sealed the twins returning to the University of Kentucky to play their sophomore season, a decision confirmed Friday. It's allowing Andrew and Aaron Harrison a second chance to grow into the players so many expected them to be for years and years — even before they started dominated games at Travis High School.
If Aaron Harrison makes that three — and he made every other big one in his incredible NCAA Tournament run — it's easy to see the Harrison Twins deluding themselves into thinking they're ready for the NBA.
They're clearly not. At least, not in the instant millionaire, lottery pick level they always expected to be at.
To call the Harrison Twins' decision to stay at Kentucky a surprise is a complete joke. One that only media outlets still caught up in their high school recruiting rankings could make.
This is a no brainer. Andrew and Aaron Harrison weren't even sure first round picks in this June's NBA Draft. DraftExpress ranks Andrew as the 39th best prospect in 2014 and tags Aaron Harrison as the 53rd best.
The Harrison Twins need Kentucky and coach John Calipari more than Kentucky needs them. Good sophomore seasons playing with another ridiculously talent-packed Kentucky team easily vaults Andrew and Aaron Harrison back into lottery consideration.
John Calipari University Take Two
Calipari — the best coach in college basketball — is sure to take advantage of his second chance to coach these talented twins too. Calipari's admitted he basically botched coaching Andrew Harrison in particular, failing to force the point guard with the size (6-foot-6) and skills to be a star to think pass first until very late in the season.
The coach still isn't likely to be able to turn Andrew Harrison into anything close to the next Derrick Rose, but he can help him work toward becoming more of a Deron Williams type player.
The Harrison Twins need Kentucky and coach John Calipari more than Kentucky needs them.
It's not so difficult to envision Aaron Harrison transforming into a J.R. Smith worthy NBA gunner either. Smith's a guy from the suburbs — raised in a very secure middle class lifestyle — who plays with the attitude of someone who comes from the mean streets. Superior shooting range isn't the only thing Aaron Harrison has in common with him.
Another season in the Bluegrass State makes that type of growth much more realistic.
Perhaps, even more importantly, it keeps the brotherhood alive. Andrew and Aaron Harrison love to play basketball together. It's what they've been doing all their lives, a best friend partnership that's fueled their success in many ways.
Once they turn pro, that dream collaboration ends.
As the only Houston reporter in the Kentucky locker room during the Final Four in Arlington, I can vouch that these twins aren't just putting on an act either. Andrew and Aaron Harrison are the type of brothers to each other that everyone wishes they had.
"It means everything . . . " Andrew Harrison says of getting to play major college basketball with his twin. Andrew Harrison stops, catches himself, looks away. The coolest guy in the room, the 19-year-old completely unfazed by superstar rapper Drake dropping in on Kentucky, is getting choked up talking about his twin.
What scenario would you rather be in next January? A star basketball player at Kentucky surrounded by beautiful coeds and a bright future or a fringe NBA rookie battling to stay on a roster in a half empty arenas in places like Milwaukee and Philadelphia?
The choice, and the brotherhood, is rather easy. Sometimes the no brainer is the smartest decision one ever makes.