With focus on hoops, Harrison twins find themselves among nation's best

by | CBSSports.com Senior College Basketball Blogger
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Shooting guard Aaron is a scorer, while point guard Andrew is a creator of offense. (Provided to CBSSports.com)  
Shooting guard Aaron is a scorer, while point guard Andrew is a creator of offense. (Provided to CBSSports.com)  

Andrew Harrison, a top-five basketball player in the class of 2013, had just scored another touchdown in football practice -- but the head coach still wasn't a believer.

You're too tall to be a running back, the coach told the now 6-foot-5 Harrison. It was right before ninth grade, and it was time for football to get very serious for Harrison and his brother in the state of Texas.

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Andrew's brother, Aaron, was the star quarterback. He had won a Punt, Pass and Kick contest at the age of 10, and could throw a football 53 yards before high school. In fact, his father still insists that he's better at football than basketball -- and he, too, is an elite hoops prospect in the class of 2013.

Unable to be a running back, Andrew no longer wanted to play football. And despite being the star player, it didn't take long for Aaron to follow suit.

"It wasn't fun anymore," Aaron said. "Because [Andrew] wasn't playing."

The twin brothers then put all of their focus behind basketball -- and that was bad news for the rest of the country. No longer encumbered by playing two sports, the Harrisons began to dominate opponents on the hardwood. They already had a national reputation before ninth grade; this just cemented their status among their age group.

"We started to be better than everyone else," Aaron said.

Three years later, as the two finish up their junior year of high school at Travis (Tex.), that sentiment still holds up. Andrew is the No. 3-ranked prospect in the class of 2013, while Aaron is ranked No. 6.

Having separate rankings is one of the few things that set one Harrison apart from the other. When one is mentioned, the other is usually brought up within seconds -- despite being very different on and off the court.

"A lot of times they don't even tell us apart," Aaron said. "They just group us together."

Here's a quick primer: Andrew is the point guard; Aaron is the shooting guard. Andrew is the creator; Aaron is the scorer. Andrew is more laid-back and relaxed; Aaron is more energetic and outgoing. Andrew wears No. 5; Aaron wears No. 2.

Get used to trying to tell the two apart: they're going to be heading to the same college, too.

"That's the one thing that's definite," Aaron Harrison Sr., their father said. "But they're not going to drag it out like people did this year."

There are four schools pursuing both players: Kentucky, Maryland, Villanova and Baylor. Other schools have popped in and out of the Harrisons' recruitment, but the aforementioned quartet is still keeping in strong contact with the family. Andrew and Aaron are on the same page when it comes to a future destination.

"We're both looking for a family atmosphere," Andrew said. "And somewhere we can play but still have to work hard."

This shouldn't be surprising to anyone: from football to basketball, the two have been attached at the hip for years.

"I'll put it this way: I have a six-bedroom house, and they still sleep in the same bedroom," their father said. "And they're my only children."

"We're inseparable," Andrew added.

Like most brothers, the two get into arguments all the time but both insist that they're closer than other siblings. They like the same things, but each is different enough to be his own person.

At the end of the day, playing basketball together is a good thing for both of them. Most players at their level have trouble finding similar competition on a regular basis, but Andrew and Aaron don't need to search very far.

"We help each other's game a lot," Aaron said. "I wouldn't be as tough if I wasn't going against him."

The two constantly challenge each other on the court, pushing each other to improve. However, despite being the two best guards in their class, there's not much of a sibling rivalry.

"We always try to tell each other to be the best," Andrew said. "We want to be the best as a tandem; we don't try to outdo each other. We have enough people to go against."

Playing in the NBA -- or elsewhere professionally -- likely will be the only thing that can separate the two on and off the court. Ridiculously early 2014 mock drafts and rankings project both as first-round picks, with Andrew predicted to land in the lottery.

It's at least two years away, of course, but it's hard for them not to think about it when they've spent their first 17 years only a few feet from each other. Both said it would be very different.

"I know it's going to come someday, but I'm not looking forward to it," Andrew said.

That can wait, though.

With a couple years until the NBA and several months until a college decision, there's really only one question everyone wants to know: who wins in a game of one-on-one between the twins?

Andrew is completely honest.

"Aaron," he said. "He's the harder player to guard."

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