UK recruits dominate list of player of the year finalists

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 12, 2013 

Andrew Wiggins of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep drew high praise from those watching him play for the first time.

MATT GOINS — Herald-Leader Buy Photo

Three future Kentucky Wildcats and two uncommitted UK recruits are among the six finalists for the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award.

The list of finalists released Tuesday includes UK signees Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, UK commitment Dakari Johnson, uncommitted targets Andrew Wiggins and Aaron Gordon, and Duke commitment Jabari Parker.

UK women’s signee Linnae Harper is among six finalists for the girls’ award.

The winners will be announced March 18.

No UK player has ever won the award, which was first given to Shane Battier in 1997 and is named for legendary DeMatha High (Md.) coach Morgan Wootten.

Other past winners include Jay Williams (1999), LeBron James (2003), Dwight Howard (2004), Greg Oden (2006) and Shabazz Muhammad (2012). Duke players have won the award five of out of 16 times.

The McDonald’s All-American Games, which sponsor the award, released bios of all of the finalists. Here’s what they had to say about the UK recruits:

Aaron Harrison: Harrison is a terrific two-guard who can score at the rim, from distance, and anywhere in between. With his size, skill, and feel for the game, Harrison does a great job of spreading the floor in transition for spot up threes. Harrison maintains an extremely high basketball IQ and a physical toughness that allows him to play beneath the rim.

Andrew Harrison: Harrison utilizes terrific change of pace to set up his move and his man. Harrison is a one-man fast break with exceptional perimeter defensive rebounding skills and speed in transition to take it coast-to-coast. Harrison’s basketball career dates all the way back to fourth grade, where he began to develop his role as a point guard with guidance from his father, Aaron Harrison Sr.

Dakari Johnson: At 6-11, Johnson is a true force in the post. With great strength, good hands and footwork, Johnson is an excellent low-post scorer who uses his size to pull down rebounds on the offensive and defensive glass. Johnson compares his game to that of current Philadelphia 76er and 2005 McDonald’s All American Andrew Bynum.

Andrew Wiggins: Wiggins is an all-around player that can make plays using both his polished skills and athleticism. A versatile player, he is difficult to guard because he can attack defenses with his three-point shooting, dribble pull-up game, and finishing ability around the rim.

Aaron Gordon: Known for his tireless effort and contagious competitive spirit, Gordon has an evolving offensive game and great hands. A threat under the basket, Gordon is relentless on the offensive glass, with plenty of tip-ins and dunks to show for his efforts.

Read more at Next Cats

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