The announcement everyone is waiting for is two days away. For Aaron Harrison Sr., it sounds like it can’t come soon enough.
The father of Andrew and Aaron Harrison spoke to the Herald-Leader on Tuesday about the final days of the recruitment of the two highest-ranked guards in the country.
They’ll announce their college destination Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.
“It’s not as easy a decision as people think it is,” Harrison Sr. said. “Either way, it’s tough.”
The choices are Kentucky, Maryland and SMU.
Harrison Sr. said the twins, who are ranked No. 2 and 3 in the country by Scout.com, seem to have already made a decision, but he doesn’t know what it is.
“I guess they have (decided),” he said. “We have an agreement, basically, that they will just say it on TV and everyone will be surprised and I’ll leave it alone.”
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon will make one last trip to Houston on Wednesday in an attempt to either reinforce or reverse the Harrisons’ decision. It’ll be Turgeon’s third visit to see the twins since the contact period began last month.
John Calipari, who visited the twins on the first day of the contact period, has actually been to Houston twice in the last few weeks. Harrison Sr. declined to name the date of the UK coach’s second (and previously unknown) visit.
“He asked me not to disclose that, but he has been here (twice),” he said.
And then there’s SMU. Harrison Sr. says the Mustangs are a legitimate option for his sons. And there’s one reason for that interest.
“They have Larry Brown at their school,” he said. “You guys don’t know my kids like I know them. Andrew could tell you everything there is to know about Larry Brown. … He definitely was a fan of Allen Iverson. Andrew’s a basketball buff kinda guy. He watches the classic NBA channel 24/7.”
Previous reports have indicated that Harrison Sr. favored Maryland, while Andrew and Aaron have been leaning toward Kentucky.
Harrison Sr. said he wouldn’t let whatever feelings he has influence his son’s final decision.
“I’m their father. I’m still not going to send them somewhere they don’t want to go,” he said. “Yes, I could say, ‘Son, you’re going to school here.’ Never. They would say, ‘Daddy, we object.’ They’ll be 18 next month. I think me and my wife have done a good job turning them into young men. They have good, sound judgement and good morals. Most people don’t know stuff. They say stuff, but they don’t know stuff.”
But Harrison Sr. did acknowledge telling USA Today reporter Eric Prisbell that Turgeon is “the most upright citizen I have met in basketball.”
Harrison Sr. said that relationship goes back several years, when Turgeon was the head coach at Texas A&M. It spawned as a result of a tragedy that claimed the lives of two people, one of them Aggies recruit Tobi Oyedeji.
“Aaron and Andrew were in the eight or ninth grade,” he said. “And there was a kid named (Tobi) Oyedeji. He had a car accident and he was killed in the accident. It was his prom night. … Coach Turgeon did some things behind the scenes that he never wanted to come out and be public. … And that kind of deal is what you think of a man. So, for me, that was pretty big.”
Much has been made of Harrison Sr.’s longtime relationship with Turgeon, the father’s family ties in Baltimore, and the family’s AAU connections to Under Armour, which outfits Maryland athletics.
In one of Prisbell’s tweets Tuesday, it’s mentioned that an Under Armour official has the direct phone number for the Harrison twins, but the college coaches involved in their recruitment do not.
Harrison Sr. acknowledged the Under Armour official was the first to get his sons’ new number, but said that official is not the only one who has it.
“Wowwww!” he said. “No, Coach Turgeon and Coach Calipari have their number. I changed their number right after (Under Armour) Elite 24 (in August) and the UA guy, Chris Hightower, was the first one to have their number. He probably had it a week before anybody else. It wasn’t like some big secret. (The coaches) just never got around to asking for it, and when they asked for it we gave it to them.”
While it has seemed at times that Harrison Sr. and his sons have sent out conflicting info on their recruitment, the father said the twins have always been of one mind.
Whatever decision has been made, it’s been made by them.
“If two people have been on the same page it would be Aaron and Andrew,” he said. “The first time someone asked me the question about them going to different schools, it was something I’d never thought about it. It’s just who they are. It’s just, ‘That’s my best friend, what would you expect?’”
Aaron Harrison Jr. told Scout.com last week that he and his brother were planning to attend Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12. Harrison Sr. had previously indicated that the twins might visit Maryland for that school’s madness event on the same night.
Harrison Sr. contradicted the Big Blue Madness report last week, but now that the twins’ school decision will be made before Oct. 12, he said it was possible the family would visit the madness event at whichever school the twins choose.
“But we haven’t really decided on that,” he added.
First, they have a bigger decision to announce.
Harrison Sr. stressed that he doesn’t know what that decision is … yet.
“Will I know? If I want to know.”
Will he ask?