The Harrison twins are better off at Kentucky, anyway

October 05, 2012 | Drew Forrester

I was disappointed to hear Maryland had entered the big-stakes poker game otherwise known as “The Harrison Twins”.

So, I’m assuming, I was one of the few people in the area Thursday afternoon who were more-than-accepting of their decision to play their one season of college basketball at the University of Kentucky.

Would Maryland’s basketball team have improved with the addition of those two kids from Texas?  Absolutely.

And would it had bothered me to know that our Terps — a longtime champion, albeit under Gary Williams, of not wading into the big-time recruiting cesspool — had finally given in and joined the ranks of the open and obvious rule-benders?  Absolutely.

I want Maryland basketball to win.

But I don’t want them to turn into another college basketball laughingstock, a la the team that beat them to the two hotshot twins.  I say “laughingstock” because anytime someone mentions Kentucky or John Calipari, it’s always followed with a “we know they do it” snicker or two.

Kentucky gets these kind of players because their coach and administration have no scruples when it comes to enrolling “student-athletes”.  If you can dribble or run or shoot, you can go to Kentucky.  Lexington is where the Harrison’s belong, frankly.  They’re just deal-cutters, with the aid of their parents, and Kentucky offers a double major in finance and under-the-table wealth management.

I was surprised that Maryland entered the fray, because they’ve always bragged about “doing it right”.  There always comes a time where you have moment or two to reflect on whether or not you’re making progress and still following the rules.  Most of the time, Maryland has always said “yes, we are”.  Tempting as it is to stray from the right path, Maryland’s athletic department has been remarkably “incident free” for most of the last decade.  And that’s why, with their pursuit of the Harrison’s, it’s easy to assume that Maryland and Coach Turgeon have started to walk a different route.  I guess that U/A logo can be quite the influence on everyone down at College Park.

Turgeon has known the Harrisons for years, dating back to his time at Texas A&M.  Oh, and Under Armour also provides gear for Texas A&M.  Everyone knows everyone in this drama.

I’m perfectly OK with Maryland going 20-12 this season and taking a young team into the second weekend of the NCAA tournament before they get run out of the gym by one of the powerhouses with a bigger payroll than the Houston Astros.  If that’s as far as the Terps make it, that’s fine.

I would much rather see Mark Turgeon try and win by maintaining his integrity than I would to see him be successful and then have the compliance folks come calling four years from now once they’ve completed their investigation into how Maryland “won” the Harrison twins.

I seriously don’t want Maryland to win by cheating.  I’d rather they just try hard, fairly, and come up short.

I get it that lots of folks out there don’t see it that way.  I’m not writing this to make you buy my point.  I’m making this point because I’m a big believer that college sports smells like a filled-to-the-brim diaper genie.  It flat out stinks to see these kids get whored out by their parents and it smells to high heaven that somehow an apparel company is directly tied into nearly all of these high-profile recruiting efforts.  No wonder those Under Armour golf shirts cost $55.00 at Dick’s or your local golf pro shop.

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7 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    Well Said Drew, you are dead on, on this issue!
    PS: what are our chances in texas tonight?

  2. P Gavin Says:

    It all stinks to high heaven. We are all to blame because we watch the games and want our team to be the best. Fire this coach because he won’t step in the recruiting wars that have to be fought. It is so insidious and criminal. The other factor involved is these “children of basketball privilege” have no moral compass. Why should they? They have been special since they were 9 years old. So many of these kids doing criminal acts on campuses around the country. I wonder if the parents of “regular” students are informed when a kid with a criminal past is foisted on “prey”(upstanding university students).

  3. Jay Says:

    I’m glad that you used the words “assume” and “cheap shot” in this article. There certainly are only presumptions here, and no facts! Mark Turgeon deserves better. And for that matter, if you had done any research about the Harrision family, I believe you would have discovered that Mr. Harrision deserves better also.

    The Terps would not even have been in the conversation except for the integrity of Coach Turgeon, and the longstanding relationships that Mr. H has developed over MANY YEARS with both Mark Turgeon & Bino Ranson.

    Say what you will about Kentucky. Any slop that you throw against the wall will probably stick. To assume that the reason that Maryland is a factor in the Harrison twins’ recruiting is because they are now “wallowing in the sleaze” is irresponsible and patently unfair.

    Your readers deserve better!

  4. Stoner Says:

    This post reeks of racism. You know nothing about the Harrisons (two fine, well-spoken young men who’ve never been in trouble a day in their lives) yet you’re gonna lump them in w/these “criminals”? And you do know that the majority of those campus shooting sprees that have occurred over the years were done by “regular” students, right? Plenty of criminals on campuses around the country never touched a ball in any sport. (DF: LOL…”racism”…another excuse from people who don’t get it.)

  5. BmoreBobRob Says:

    Good article. What is interesting is that the KY alums and fans could are less if the school cheats to get players so in essence the marriage of Ky and Cal is perfect. Md bb could be at a cross roads as to whether or not to take advantage of their relationship with UA and if so, how much. As Ua’s brand grows, so does their power. In reality, this is why kids like the twins should be allowed to play in the NBA right now instead of having to go through the dog and pony show of being a student athlete.

    Maybe if Md would have offered them a free, life time You Pon membership the twins would be turtles and not cats.

  6. P Gavin Says:

    Shooting sprees are different animals. To lump the Va Tech nut case w/ what goes on at other schools by members of the FB and BB teams is just deflecting the issue. I am talking theft, vandalism, cheating on tests,sex crimes and other more serious crimes that are covered up by the Universities. If you want to white wash it, go ahead. It makes me laugh that racism is always used when calling out criminals. These big time schools and their athletic departments make me sick. And I played sports in College at a high level.

    It is a symptom of our society that these kids have no compass. I’ve coached for years and have scoffed at parents who are under the delusion that their little Johnny will get an athletic scholarship. Many have come to me and ask how his kid can get better. I tell them all the same thing. Read a book, study and pay attention in school. That is the majority of kids, some are truly gifted and NEVER get the advice that I give. Go to camp, get exposure and make an impression on the AAU teams or someone who can make a difference.

    Anyone who defends these football and Basketball factories is truly blind. Of course there are some good guys, dudes who trade in their skills for an education. But in the delusional world we live in, most think that they will “go pro”. I was close to a local D111 program. Those kids thought they got screwed by D1 programs and if they had a better look that their pro career was assured. Where did they learn this?? From the culture that we live in. WE are in the bread and circus point of our civilization.

  7. The Armchair QB Says:

    There’s lots of blame to go around in college sports today, but it’s hard to blame the youngsters, many of whom view these as opportunties to get out of ghettos/poverty and pursue the proverbial, “American Dream”! So, the blame must be divided evenly between the schools and the professional sports organizations, both of whom exploit these kids in the name of “sports” when, in reality, it’s all about the almighty……..BUCK!

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