GARY B. GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky twin freshman guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison will return for a second season to a stocked Wildcats squad coming off an NCAA championship appearance.
Both had been mentioned as possible NBA first-round draft picks after leading Kentucky’s march through the NCAA tournament. Aaron Harrison’s clutch 3-pointers that beat Michigan and Wisconsin and put the Wildcats in the final were set up by feeds from point guard Andrew.
The twins said in a statement through the school were returning for another shot at the title. “Last year’s run was special, but we still have unfinished business,” Aaron said.
Added Andrew: “I’m returning for my sophomore season because I want to win a national title.”
The Harrisons rejoin 7-foot centers Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson and forwards Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress in returning to the Wildcats.
Their announcement was eagerly awaited after freshman forward Julius Randle’s decision on Tuesday to enter the draft. His was expected along with guard James Young’s declaration last week that he would turn pro.
Johnson and Poythress said Wednesday they would stay. With two days before the deadline to declare their draft intentions, the 6-foot-6 twins announced that they’d also come back and give Kentucky length and experience in the backcourt.
After struggling for much of their rookie season, both quickly came of age in the postseason following a “tweak” by Kentucky coach John Calipari. In Andrew Harrison’s case, he urged him to shoot less and involve his teammates more, an adjustment that helped the eighth-seeded Wildcats post NCAA tournament upsets over top-seeded Wichita State, Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Andrew Harrison’s passes benefited Aaron in the latter two games as he calmly hit long-range jumpers to put Kentucky in the final before losing 60-54 to Connecticut.
The twins’ decision pleased Calipari.
“Their postseason play was a result of the improvement they made all season and displayed what they’re capable of doing on the court,” Calipari said in a statement. “I look forward to having the opportunity to work with them during the summer and watch them lead next year’s team.”