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Kentucky's Harrison Twins: Pressure!


Youth is wasted on the young.

Aaron and Andrew Harrison were amongst the top 10 recruiting class coming out of high school just a year ago.  Extremely talented, large weights of Kentucky Wildcat expectations have been squarely dropped on their shoulders. 

Do they have what it takes to win a national championship?

Let's take a look at what has transpired throughout this year.

Kentucky was elated to get these twin guards and looked forward to an exciting season of fast-paced high scoring successful basketball.  What they got most of the year was dissention in the ranks, uncomfortable moments, accusations of not being team players, and simply not ready for this very high level of play.

As soon as the Wildcats' season faltered, even just a little bit, the twins were unfairly easy scapegoats. It started looking like a season that would go down as a learning season for Kentucky and the 9 other freshmen that make up the roster.

But wait, not if Calipari has anything to do with it.  The veteran coach worked hard every day to teach these two and the team what it means to play D-1 ball and even better, Kentucky ball. Practice after practice, rep after rep, Calipari would not let up on his team.

It takes hard work, unrelenting fight, thick skin, desire, drive and heart.  No kidding! I'm not sharing anything new here.

Calipari always knew these two brothers possess special skills and tried everything possible to bring it out of them, almost to the point of criticism.  Many felt early in the season that the twins are no question very talented, but just young and in need of experience.  Most figured that more time was needed than just this season.  Calipari never gave up hope that these twins would "poise up" at some point, and hoped desperately it would be sometime THIS season.

Let me just say, these are kids, children. At 19 years of age, it is WAY too much to ask anyone. Although I thought I knew everything at this age, I knew JACK SQUAT!

"People don't understand, unless you're in the locker room, how much stuff we hear about us; how we don't love each other and we're not that good individually," Andrew Harrison said. "But now we're just happy to be here."

As much as their play was scrutinized and criticized during Kentucky's first 31 games, there is no bigger reason for the Wildcats' surge into the Final Four than the emergence of the Harrison Twins as elite playmakers and clutch shooters.

I want it for the twins.  How do you go from struggling to work with the rest of the team, to making game winning shots time and time again in just a three week span?

Calipari.

Kentucky's weighted burden on the twins has slowly been lifting away because of Calipari and his unrelenting need to teach these youngsters what it takes to succeed, not giving up on them, ever, and working hard to impress upon them how things work in this world, and this crazy thing called sport.

"The biggest thing we had to help them with was body language," Calipari said. "As that changed, they became different players. The second thing was, we had to define the roles better, and I did a poor job of that until late in the year, by the end of the year. I can't believe it. I was angry when I realized what I had done."

Win or lose, the twins have overcome.  Maybe their youth will allow the two to take this season's journey, learn from it, and dance with a national championship.  Let the fists pump when late in the game a pinpoint pass from Andrew to Aaron for a three puts them into the finals.

Let youth overcome and let's all learn from their season's journey.  We could all learn a little something from life mentor and coach, Calipari.  

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