Harrison's shot proves Cats' growth


ARLINGTON, Texas -- He didn't want the ball. He needed it.

Aaron Harrison clapped to get his twin Andrew Harrison's attention as the latter drove through a bunch of Badgers and sought refuge in the final seconds. Andrew could see the smirk on his twin's face. It was a good sign.

Josh Gasser pursued. Aaron hesitated.

"I didn't know how much time was on the clock," said Aaron, who nailed the game-winning 3-pointer with 6 seconds to play in Kentucky's 74-73 win over Wisconsin in Saturday's national semifinal at AT&T Stadium. "I just wanted to get a little look at it. So I just rose up and took the shot."

Kentucky coach John Calipari refused to call a timeout. But throughout this tourney, he's dared his young players to create plays that feature Aaron -- his freshman sharpshooter. This is the same young man who ended Michigan's dreams with a 3-pointer in the final seconds of an Elite Eight victory somewhere on the arc with the ball in his hands. So his brother gave it to him.

"I just knew he was, like, smiling when he was dribbling the ball," Andrew said. "He's crazy. I don't understand him."

It's nothing new for those who know Aaron. He's a 19-year-old without a conscience. Some players run from that pressure. Aaron chases it.

He had the same attitude in elementary school.

"Third or fourth grade, he hit one to win the national championship," said Aaron Harrison Sr., who attended Saturday's game. "That's just his personality. He believes he's going to make every shot he takes. That's just him. That's who he is."

But that's who they all are, really.

Aaron's shot was magnificent and it extended this remixed season -- as rapper Drake, who attended the game, might say, they started from the bottom (see losses to Arkansas, South Carolina), now they're here -- but there was a humbling process that preceded it. At some point, the Wildcats had to conquer the brazen, unbridled egos that most teenagers battle.

In clutch situations, Aaron gets the ball now. But the Wildcats had to be selfless enough -- become selfless enough -- to defer when necessary.

"It just goes to show you the sacrifices of this team," Julius Randle said. "Everybody, per se, knows their roles. And everybody wants what's best for each other. And in that situation, we want Aaron taking that shot."

It's easy to come together when the pieces all form like Voltron. It's more difficult to create an efficient hierarchy that facilitates on-court success when everyone wants to be Batman, though.

There are six former McDonald's All-Americans in Calipari's freshman class. Sophomore  Alex Poythress is a former McDonald's All-American, and fellow second-year player  Willie Cauley-Stein is a future first-round pick.

Each player on this Kentucky roster entered the year with the same expectation. When the lights come on, they all want to close the show and earn the curtain call.

That's what stars desire. They hope to shine when situations that require a hero arise.

But what happens when seven or eight guys all bring capes and costumes to Lexington?


"We all were high schools stars and the leading scorers for our team,"  Dominique Hawkins said. "Just finding your role is pretty difficult."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...