UK Men's Basketball

Meet the Cats: Aaron Harrison motivated by perception twin brother is better

The Harrisons, Aaron (2) and Andrew (5), flanked James Young at Kentucky's photo day.
The Harrisons, Aaron (2) and Andrew (5), flanked James Young at Kentucky's photo day. Jonathan Palmer

The question was asked with neutrality in mind. What if only one of the Harrison twins is judged to be a lottery pick in next year's NBA Draft? Would that brother, in alphabetical order Aaron or Andrew, choose to stay at Kentucky for another year and help the other improve so they might enter some future draft as they've done so many things: together.

Interestingly, Aaron answered as if he were the brother that might be left behind in this hypothetical scenario.

"I use it as motivation," he said before adding, "I don't get where you'd get that from in any kind of way."

Of course, Aaron knows there is a perception that he is the lesser player of the two. What he doesn't know is how this perception originated.

"I have no clue," he said. "Maybe someone saw us play one game, and I didn't play well and Andrew played well. And that's what they go off of, I guess."

This perception is a sensitive subject.

"Of course it bothers me," Aaron said. "I'm a competitor."

Andrew scoffed at the notion that he is the superior player.

"I think that's pretty ridiculous," he said. "I mean, I think that's why Aaron has a chip on his shoulder. Not because of me, but because some people put (that perception) in front of him. He knows he's better (than that). He just has to prove himself all over again. That's enjoyment. That's a challenge for him." ranked Andrew the nation's No. 5 prospect and Aaron No. 7 in its final 2013 rankings. NBA mock drafts for 2014 also rate Andrew in front of Aaron.

Andrew suggested that to watch the twins over an extended period will prove that their playing ability matches their appearance: close enough to identical.

"One summer he's better," Andrew said. "One summer, I'm better. Personally, I think Aaron's a little better than me. He's more talented. He can score from anywhere. ... At the same time, he can do what I do. Get in the paint and dish and find. I think people will see that."

The twins' father found talk of Andrew being better than Aaron amusing and unfounded. Aaron Harrison Sr. said that UK Coach John Calipari had told him Aaron might have been UK's best player in early workouts.

"That wouldn't surprise me," the elder Harrison said.

The father attributed the Andrew-is-better talk to nothing more substantial than which player had the ball more. "People see the kid with the ball in his hands,' he said.

Calipari volunteered that he'd heard the Andrew-is-better talk. "Everybody says Andrew is way above Aaron," he said. "That's not true."

Aaron is better than his brother at using his left hand. Calipari noted how he'd (playfully?) asked Aaron to teach Andrew how to penetrate to the basket using his left hand.

Calipari has joked about having the twins switch jerseys to fool opponents or referees. The twins are interchangeable on the court, he said.

Of course, the NBA Draft is a meritocracy. The best players, as perceived by NBA people, get drafted.

How that might affect the twins remains to be seen.

"That's not really in our hands," Andrew said when asked the left-behind question. "I mean, that's in God's hands. Whatever plan He has, that's what we're going to have to do. Right now, we're just at Kentucky trying to be the best we can be."

Aaron Harrison

Uniform number: 2

Height, weight: 6-6, 218

Position: Guard

Class: Freshman

Hometown: Richmond, Texas.

High school: Travis

Twitter: @AaronICE2

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