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Aaron and Andrew Harrison returning to Kentucky

Harrison-Twins-Kentucky

Kentucky fans are still trying to get over a tough loss to UConn in the national championship game earlier this month, and they received some great news on Friday that should execrate the healing process. The Wildcats’ twin guards, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison, have decided to return to Kentucky for their sophomore seasons.

Both Aaron and Andrew announced the decision on their respective Twitter accounts.

As usual, John Calipari is expected to bring in one of the top recruiting classes next season. The return of the Harrison twins will give the Wildcats something they have been lacking in recent years come tournament time — experience.

“They wanted to stay in school,” the twins’ father Aaron told ESPN on Friday. “They wanted to explore their options and see what’s out there. They probably made up their minds last week. All the information they got from the draft was that they were middle to late first round. They had to weigh going back to school and improving and maturing. All the things added up to that.”

Julius Randle and James Young, Kentucky’s top two scorers, have already declared for the draft. However, the Harrisons will join Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson as freshman who have decided to stick around for another year.

“I’m coming back for a second season in large part because last year’s title run was special, but we still have unfinished business,” Aaron said.

Aaron knocked down not one but two game-winning 3-pointers in the NCAA Tournament to spark Kentucky’s improbable run to the Final Four. The Wildcats should be the No. 1 team in the preseason rankings later this year for a second straight year.

John Calipari says ‘tweak’ he made was having Andrew Harrison pass more

John Calipari KentuckyThe Kentucky Wildcats were a completely different team once the NCAA Tournament began. After a season of disappointing results and tumbling in the national rankings, Kentucky knocked off some of the best teams in the tourney field en route to a National Championship appearance. So what changed?

When reporters asked how the Wildcats were able to make such a deep run, John Calipari credited a minor “tweak” he made in the team’s approach. That apparently involved freshman guard Andrew Harrison. Calipari elaborated on Monday.

“I was trying to make the game easier for Andrew,” Calipari told CBS This Morning, via The Dagger’s Jeff Eisenberg. “I got tapes of Deron Williams, who averaged nine assists throughout his career in the NBA. We had a game where he had 11 assists and I showed Andrew and I said, ‘Look at this. Let’s watch. Would you have passed or shot?’ He said, ‘I would have shot.’ ‘Would you have passed or shot?’ Well, Deron was throwing balls to everybody.”

The only regret Calipari had was not making the change sooner.

“And so I said, ‘Monday, you will not shoot one basketball. You will pass,” he explained. “We’re going to run less plays. You will create shots. We will chart. We’re not telling our team.’ He comes in and has 26 assist attempts. Twenty-six assists that Monday. I’m mad the whole practice because it’s changed my team. Why didn’t I do it earlier? And then I apologized to him, I apologized to the team and I said, ‘I messed this up, make me look good now.’”

It obviously worked. Kentucky probably wasn’t going to beat UConn in the National Championship game regardless given the way Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatright were playing. Guard play almost always carries a team in the postseason. By realizing that, Calipari was able to defy the odds.