Breaking: Harrison twins pick Kentucky

Aaron and Andrew Harrison, the No.1 point guard prospect and No.1 shooting guard prospect in the class of 2013 respectively, according to Scout.com, will play their college basketball at the University of Kentucky next season. The twins are ranked No.2 and No. 3 overall by Scout.com in the class of 2013, only Simeon High School (Chicago) small forward Jabari Parker is rated higher.

The Harrison’s attend high school at Travis High School in Richmond, Texas. The twins were considering SMU, Kentucky and Maryland.

The twins join power forward Derek Willis (Bullitt East High School, Mt. Washington, Ky) as the only commitments for Kentucky in the class of 2013.

From BidLeadSports, Andrew and Aaron Harrison just announced they’ll be attending Kentucky. The twins, considered Top 5 players in the Class of 2013, broke the hearts of Maryland with the decision, which was made on ESPNU. (I find it hard to believe a College Park bar was “packed” watching this decision, but hey, stranger things have happened.) Andrew is a 6-foot-5 point guard; Aaron is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard.

The Harrison Twins are the first players in the top five of the Class of 2013 to make a decision. Julius Randle from Texas is considered the best player in the class; Jabari Parker of Chicago (he’s the SI cover boy) is supposed to be 2nd.

Kentucky Wildcats: College Basketball recruiting 2012

Nerlens NoelFour straight years the Kentucky Wildcats have landed the top recruiting class in college basketball and 2012 was no different for the NCAA champions.

Say what you will about John Calipari and Kentucky, but together they have changed the way we look at college basketball.

They proved that the most talented group of freshman can beat a group of solid juniors and seniors who stay and chose to enter the NBA later.

According to ESPN.com Kentucky once again landed the top class signing four players in the ESPN top 100.

Nerlens Noel, the nation’s top recruit on some boards will have huge expectations left by Anthony Davis.

Both are strong defensive players and Noel at 6’10 is widely regarded as the best shot-blocker since Greg Oden.

Kentucky beat out Syracuse and Georgetown to land Noel, who some have said is a better post defender than Davis.

UK’S PROJECTED ROSTER FOR 2012-13
Twany Beckham G 6-5 205 Sr.
Jon Hood G 6-7 215 Jr.
Jarrod Polson G 6-2 185 Jr.
Ryan Harrow G 6-2 175 So.
Brian Long G 5-9 150 So.
Sam Malone G 5-11 190 So.
Kyle Wiltjer F 6-9 239 So.
Willie Cauley-Stein F/C 6-10 215 Fr.
Archie Goodwin G 6-5 180 Fr.
Nerlens Noel C 6-10 215 Fr.
Alex Poythress F 6-7 215 Fr.

Laettner and Duke beat Kentucky: History 101

Christian Laettner

In 1992 the Duke Blue Devils returned four starters from their National Championship team the year prior.  1991 was the first National Championship in the schools’ now illustrious basketball history and with the majority of their stars still in place, the Blue Devils and their fans had high expectations for an encore.   Led by point guard Bobby Hurley, forward Grant Hill, and center Christian Laettner, the Blue Devils entered March Madness with an impressive 28-2 record and the Nations’ No. 1 seed.

In the early rounds of the tournament one by one the Blue Devils cruised by their underdog opponents.  First it was Campbell, then Iowa, and Seton Hall.  By the tournament’s midpoint the Blue Devils could all but taste the Final Four.  All that stood in their way was an East Regional Finals matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats and their sophomore sensation Jamal Mashburn.

The outcome of the game remained in the balance until the final shot.  Duke’s Laettner was 9 for 9 from the floor that day but his 10th shot would be the dagger.  The funny thing about that 10th shot is that it probably never should have occurred.  Earlier in the second half, Laettner purposefully stomped Kentucky freshman Arminu Timberlake in the chest as he lay on the court after a dead ball.  Laettner received a technical foul for his actions but due to the his apparent intent, he probably should have been ejected.

Nevertheless Kentucky took a one point lead with 2.1 seconds remaining in the game and for a moment it looked as the Blue Devils rein and attempt to repeat as champions would come to an end.  But as the saying goes, the beauty about sports is that; it ain’t over, until it’s over.

Grant Hill would inbound for Duke.  His target would be the 6’11 Laettner who stood 70 feet away from him.  70 feet in football terms equates to about 23 yards.  Can you imagine having to complete a 23 yard pass to win a football game?  Where it’s possible it’s also improbable and the thought of getting off a decent shot attempt after completing a near length of the court pass seemed desperate at best.  Like a quarterback, Hill cocked the ball back and hurled it down the court.  What happened after that would make the play one of the greatest in college basketball history.

Laettner caught the pass with his back to the basket. He dribbled once and pivoted left before turning right and taking a 17 foot jump shot.  It was the shot heard round the world as Laettner sank the basket sending Kentucky home and Duke to their 5th straight final four.

The Blue Devils would go on to beat the Michigan Wolverines in the National Championship game for their second consecutive title.

The 1992 Duke – Kentucky game was arguably the best in college basketball history and gets the grade of an A+ in this edition of College Sports University History 101.

Aaron Moon is the CEO of The Sports Blitz Network and can be contacted at amoon@thepenaltyflagblog.com.

Muhammad chooses UCLA, is it the shoes?

Shabazz Muhammad Bishop GormanThere is a problem with college basketball recruiting and Shabazz Muhammad could be the perfect example. Recently choosing UCLA over Kentucky and his hometown UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, many have blasted the high school student for signing with UCLA because of their sponsorship with Adidas.

Some may remember the famous Nike commercial and the question “is it the shoes?” While it might not be the shoes per say, it’s the money that could go along with it when/and if he transitions to the NBA.

Things like this happen all the time in college basketball.  According to many, Anthony Davis the most recent MVP of the National Championship and now potential number one pick, signed with the Kentucky Wildcats because of their affiliation with Nike. Don’t kid yourself, he will have a Nike shoe contract before his name is announced at the 2012 NBA Draft.

There are kids every year that commit to a school based on sponsorship and that trend will continue to happen unless someone puts a stop to it.

What ever happened to playing for a team that you are most passionate about?

For Muhammad, he bites the hand that feeds him as he leaves Las Vegas to attend UCLA instead of UNLV.

The 6’5 senior may not realize the potential not only the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels have, but also the potential and backing the city Las Vegas could have offered him.

Shabazz Muhammad is a senior at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, NV and was the number one overall player ranked by Rivals.com, Prepstars.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com.

To be a student at Bishop Gorman, a Roman Catholic College Preparatory High School in the Diocese of Las Vegas, is considered a privilege. Tuition is expensive. Last reported at $12,500 a year. This does not include uniforms, books and other items a student pays for. Walking down the halls you are surrounded with peers that are intelligent and have the potential of being the next president. Then again, there are also the students that have no right to be there and can thank their parents for pushing them to succeed. As a former student at Bishop Gorman, I know first-hand that sometimes you can become blinded of what else is out there while living in the “Gorman world.”

UNLV has a potential top-10 nationally ranked team in 2012 and just landed Findlay Prep star and top recruit Anthony Bennett in addition to a compelling starting team including USC transfer Bryce Jones, Pitt transfer Khem Birch and returning starters Anthony Marshall and Mike Moser. The atmosphere in Las Vegas is starting to resemble the exciting and amazing atmosphere that once graced the streets of Vegas in the late 80’s and 90’s.

When UNLV won the National Championship in 1990 it was a scene of Rebel Red. The entire valley had “Rebel Fever” and that special atmosphere is starting to make a comeback. We rallied around No. 1 pick of the NBA draft Larry Johnson and love Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon still to this day. We treat any of them with respect and God-like celebrities.

While Muhammad’s decision could have been based on playing time as UNLV’s upcoming roster far outdoes the PAC-12 UCLA roster, speculation says it’s all about the shoes or the money he will potentially earn when he goes pro. We will never know if his choice was actually influenced by Adidas but by not selecting UNLV he may have lost a number of fans.

GB Bongiovanni can be contacted on Twitter @GBBongiovanni

Is Kentucky’s Anthony Davis the next Bill Russell?

Anthony DavisAnthony Davis of the Kentucky Wildcats will undoubtedly be the unanimous No. 1 overall draft pick of the 2012 NBA Draft. His play throughout his freshman year has been, how do we say? DOMINANT!Averaging 14 points 10 rebounds four blocks and two steals, how can you question his dominance on a basketball court? Leading Kentucky to a national championship, he has shown his impact on the game in many ways other than scoring. His stats from the championship game were six points 16 rebounds five assists six blocks and three steals. Read more here…