Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Andrew Harrison: Who do you think you are?
By David Auguste
Class of 2013 No. 1 point guard Andrew Harrison likes the comparison to Kings guard Tyreke Evans.
This summer, ESPNHS will sit down with some of the nation's elite players to break down their game, talk about the inevitable comparisons to college and pro players and get their take on who they pattern their game after.
Harrison appears to be cut from the same cloth as the rash of scoring point guards who have popped up in recent years. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is the No. 3 player in the ESPN 100 and the nation’s No. 1 PG. Harrison is a matchup problem for opposing floor generals, and his size, length and tight handle allow him to make a living in the paint. This past winter, he tallied 12.3 points, 6.0 dimes and 4.9 boards a contest during Travis’ run to the Class 5A title game. Harrison, whose twin brother, Aaron, is No. 8 in the Class of 2013, holds offers from a host of hoops heavyweights, with Maryland, Baylor and national champ Kentucky vying for his services. RecruitingNation’s Damon Sayles profiled the twins for an article on June 8.
According to ESPN RecruitingNation, Harrison’s frame, ability to change speeds in transition, deft passing and scoring punch make him one of the most dangerous players in the country. He can score in a variety of ways, killing defenders in transition or burying long-range daggers off the bounce. Harrison can get into the lane with ease to create open shots for teammates or finish via a pull-up jumper, a feathery floater or a furious dunk. Defensively, he can guard all three wing spots using his length and lateral quickness to put the cuffs on opponents.
While Harrison is built more in the mold of Tyreke Evans, his offensive creativity and ability to facilitate for others as a true point guard is more akin to that of Nets All-Star Deron Williams. And you can’t discredit the Southern bloodlines, either.
Williams displayed Texas-sized talent while at The Colony (Texas), and Harrison has followed a similar blueprint to ascend to the top of the ESPN 100.
The change-of-pace factor is what sealed the deal for us. Both players can accelerate and decelerate to keep defenders off balance and boast incredible change of direction abilities, making them virtually impossible to stop in transition.
One-on-one, these two will give the business to even the staunchest defenders. Both floor generals set up opponents with the dribble before rocking them to sleep with a crossover that is simply poetry in motion. And they know what to do once they get in the lane, scoring and dishing in a variety of ways and with stunning flash. Harrison has shown an uncanny ability to finish through contact -- a staple of Williams’ game.
Harrison will need to become a more consistent shooter and incorporate more of a post up arsenal to live up to the Williams’ comp, but he’s only a rising senior and has a solid foundation already in place.
Harrison's Comparison: Tyreke Evans
“I get the Deron Williams stuff because we can both come off of picks and pull up for threes,” says Harrison. “But I first started hearing the Evans comparison in the ninth grade. I think he was still in college. I was honored to be compared to him.”
Harrison is quick to note that he doesn’t put much stock in player comparisons and would rather play his own brand of ball. But he doesn’t shy away from the obvious similarities between himself and Evans.
“We’re both big guards and we can take smaller guards off the dribble,” says Harrison. “Not just with power, but speed and using the dribble."
Harrison still keeps tabs on Evans but makes a strong effort to study all of the league’s elite playmakers. Games featuring Williams, Russell Westbrook and his favorite player, Derrick Rose, are on regular rotation at the Harrison house, as Andrew continues to look for new avenues for fine-tuning his game.
“I try to watch every good point guard,” he says. “It’s great motivation to try and catch up to those guys.”