- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Kentucky fans have every right to focus on the here and now. After all, the Wildcats are going to be very good in 2012-13. John Calipari has a reloaded team coming off a national championship, with another plausible No. 1 overall draft pick (Nerlens Noel, assuming he's cleared to play by the NCAA) anchoring the center position and a coterie of highly ranked recruits (Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, NC State transfer Ryan Harrow, sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer) filling out the lineup. UK will almost certainly begin the season in the top five, and will almost certainly compete for a national championship. In Lexington, there's no time like the present.
But even as we ramp up to a new college hoops season, you can forgive Kentucky fans for looking ahead. Because by the sound of it, the 2013-14 Wildcats are going to be really, really good.
You knew as much already, given that Calipari has landed three of the nation's top-five recruits -- twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison and shooting guard James Young -- for the class of 2013. This has all been documented before, and any time you land three top-five players, you're going to be good. Duh, right? But if former NBA player and personal hoops trainer/aficionado John Lucas (who trained the twins from eighth grade on) is to be believed, the hype on the Harrison twins hasn't been loud enough. Via the Louisville Courier-Journal, get a load of this:
Lucas said that when the twins were in the eighth and ninth grade, they were the only players that young allowed to participate in games with the pros he also helps train, particularly at his annual NBA predraft camp.
Lucas mentioned J.R. Smith, Blake Griffin, Andray Blatche, Tyshawn Taylor, Chandler Parsons, Hassan Whiteside, John Henson and his son John Lucas III as some NBA players or former prospects with whom the Harrisons have shared a court.
“They held their own,” Lucas said.
And here's the kicker:
“They come in, for me, right behind Kobe (Bryant) and LeBron (James) as talents,” Lucas said in a phone interview last week. “… They’ve got a chance to be really good.”
Needless to say, that is incredibly high praise. Probably too high. I mean, sure, the Harrison twins are very good at basketball. But Kobe Bryant and LeBron James? Two of the 10 best NBA players of all time? Global faces of the game? Dominant talents that come along once every 10 years, if that? My instinct tells me that Lucas is exaggerating, because that's what we all tend to do when we see really talented players coming out of the high school ranks. Everybody's always the next big thing. Rarely do the results match the hype.
Because the other option is that Lucas is right, and the 2013-14 Wildcats will indeed be starting a backcourt with not one but two future NBA Hall of Famers. In which case we might as well just hand UK the trophy now. Yikes.