After announcing his intention to enter this year's NBA Draft, Andrew Harrison said that playing for Kentucky helped prepare him for the unforgiving world of professional basketball.
When asked about entering the NBA Draft this year rather than last year, Harrison said, "I feel I'm just ready as a person and a player. And I feel I'm prepared for anything they throw at me. Two years here, you're ready for anything."
Not for the first time, Harrison noted the scrutiny that comes with playing for Kentucky. That's especially true when you're a point guard, and even more true when the team struggles, as it did in 2013-14.
Harrison acknowledged he was not ready for that scrutiny when he arrived as a freshman in 2013.
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"I really wasn't," he said. "I had a chip on my shoulder. When you take all the scrutiny, when you are the scapegoat of the team ... it affects your play. But, now, becoming older and wiser, you realize it's part of the game."
That ability to put criticism in perspective took time.
"When you feel you're the scapegoat and people are just picking on you, it's tough," Harrison said. "It's fine, now. You mature, and you get over it."
Harrison could have put his name in the 2014 NBA Draft.
"I actually wanted to stay," he said. "I wanted to stay and enjoy college one more year and be a kid one more year."
When asked if he wanted to be a kid yet another year and return to Kentucky next season, Harrison said, "Nah. I'm good, now. I had enough."
Devin Booker and Tyler Ulis came to Kentucky as a duo. They will leave as solo acts with Booker's announcement that he will enter this year's NBA Draft.
"Tyler wanted me to do what's best for myself," Booker said. "Everybody knows we're going to be best friends for life. That's how that's going to be. Me moving on, that's not going to change anything, really."
Booker said he told Ulis of his decision to enter the draft earlier this week. Ulis offered encouragement. "Like, 'I'm proud of you' and 'Just keep grinding,'" Booker said.
Booker predicted that Ulis and Kentucky will be good next season.
"You're going to see special things out of Tyler this year," he said. "I mean, next year, he's going to be a real special player.
"The recruiting class they're bringing in, they're going to be a really good team again."
In the news conference following Wisconsin's victory over Kentucky in the NCAA semifinals, a live microphone caught Harrison using an expletive and a racial slur in reference to Frank Kaminsky.
Harrison subsequently apologized.
When asked about the incident Thursday, Harrison said, "It's funny. Because I talked to Frank this morning, actually.
"We talked about agents and stuff, where we're going to be this summer."
Kaminsky said Sunday that he accepted Harrison's apology and suggested everyone not make much out of the incident.
On Thursday, Harrison spoke of a lesson learned.
"We all know it was a mistake," he said. "Heat of the moment. It'll never happen again."
Aaron: I'm the best
NBA Draft analysts do not project Aaron Harrison as a first-round pick. He intends to prove them wrong.
"I definitely think I can be in the first round," he said. "I think I'm the best '2-guard' in the draft. Just got to go work out and prove it."
Harrison used the word "prove" several times in talking about his draft profile.
"I have a lot to prove," he said. "And I want to prove a lot. ...
"Just to prove I'm one of the best guards, and just show my athletic ability, and just get back to just playing confident basketball."
Booker, another candidate for best shooter in the draft, offered no objection to Harrison seeing himself as numero uno.
"Everyone is supposed to have that confidence," Booker said. "I feel the same way. And that's exactly how Aaron should feel. Aaron is talented, too. You've seen what he can do.
"It's going to be exciting. I can't wait to see what the future holds for us."
In all likelihood, the NBA Draft will separate Aaron and Andrew Harrison for the first time.
"It's going to be tough at first," Andrew said. "But, I mean, we're not inseparable.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to show the world, individually, what we can do."
Aaron also made it sound like he and his twin brother are ready to go their separate ways.
"I think we'll be just fine," he said. "We haven't talked about it that much.
"I think we're ready to branch out and be our own men."
First-round draftees this year are guaranteed rookie salaries ranging from $4,750,000 for the first overall pick to $940,000 for the 30th and final pick.
When asked what he'd buy first, Willie Cauley-Stein said, "I don't even know. An investment, for sure. Nothing I'm losing money on. Trying to have some money make some money. Nothing crazy, that's for sure."