Who do you think you are? andrew harrison, aaron gordon, Randle
Player: Andrew Harrison
School: Travis (Fort Bend, Texas)
Position: Point Guard
ESPN 100: No. 3
Who is Andrew Harrison?
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.
ESPNHS Comparison: Deron Williams
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.”
Player: Julius Randle
School: Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas)
Position: Power forward
ESPN 60: No. 2
Who is Julius Randle?
The left-handed combo forward has been one of the top players nationally in the 2013 class since middle school. Randle delivers as a high school player, leading Prestonwood to consecutive Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools Class 5A state crowns. As a junior, he put his school in the national spotlight by leading the team to the title at the prestigious City of Palms Classic, where he earned MVP honors. For the season, the second team ESPNHS All-American averaged 21.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor. Next season, Randle will have a good shot to become Texas' first Mr. Basketball USA selectionsince Rashard Lewis of Elsik (Houston) in 1998.
According to ESPN RecruitingNation, Randle is a pro in the making. He can drive going in either direction, has touch around the rim, but can also powerfully finish with contact. Randle has range, but is prone to being streaky from the outside. In a nutshell, he can dominate smaller players inside and is too athletic for post players to handle. When he is on, like he was during stretches of the 2011 Nike EYBL, Randle has the look of a top 10 to 15 prospect of the past decade.
Most frequent comparisons: Marvin Williams, Caron Butler, Billy Owens
ESPNHS comparison: Billy Owens
There are great similarities between Randle and the former Syracuse and Carlisle (Pa.) All-American who spent 10 years in the NBA. Owens, also proficient with his left-hand, was a top 5 prospect in 1988 and led his high school team to multiple state championships. Owens was powerfully built and a huge matchup problem on the high school and college level. He wasn't nearly as powerful as Randle, but high school players 25 years ago didn't have NBA-ready bodies nearly as often as they do today. What Owens did possess was an overall feel for the game that made teammates better and passing abilities that are rare for a 6-foot-8 player. Randle won't necessarily pick up those same traits if he doesn't already have them, but if he can learn to stay locked-in for a complete game instead of stretches, the sky is the limit.
Julius' comparison: LeBron James
Since Billy Owens was in his prime before Randle was born, naturally he doesn't really know anything about Carlisle's most famous athlete next to Jim Thorpe. Ever the student, Randle said he's "going to look him up to see what he's about."
Randle is a classic inside-out player who national scouts love because of his ability as an offensive threat across the entire floor, so he found it difficult to compare himself to one player. He does, however, have an affinity for the current Miami Heat star.
"I don't know if I can compare my game to just one player because I think I'm a mixture of players," Randle said. "On the perimeter, I use my speed, strength and handle sort of like LeBron to get where I want on the floor. I'm also able to make plays for my teammates."
Randle knows where his "money" is, too.
"In the post, I have moves also, so I would say I'm sort of like Amar'e Stoudemire or Zach Randolph, but more explosive."
The Prestonwood Christian standout is working hard to expand his game and incorporate some of the moves of his favorite player -- Kobe Bryant.
"Right now, I'm working on being a better defender and also my in-between game like pull-ups. So I watch a lot of Melo (Carmelo Anthony) and also my favorite player Kobe to see how they create space."
Player: Aaron Gordon
School: Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
Position: Small forward/power forward
ESPN 60: No. 3
Who is Aaron Gordon?
With a devastating inside-out game and elite athleticism, Gordon has been one of the top frontcourt prospects in the country for the past few years. He's led Archbishop Mitty to back-to-back state championships, posting a line of 33 points and 20 rebounds in the most recent title game win. For the 2011-12 season, Gordon averaged 22.9 points, 12.8 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, earning him Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball honors. He should be on the short list for Gatorade National Player of the Year next season.
According to ESPN RecruitingNation, Gordon uses his length, athleticism and high-energy motor to dominate the paint. He does major damage on tip-ins and putbacks, relentlessly attacking the ball off the rim. He's also improving his perimeter skills, taking bigger defenders outside and driving past them with a tight handle and quick first step. Gordon is one of the top finishers in the country, easily getting above the rim and slamming the ball with authority. He's the type of recruit who can change a college program as a freshman, which is why schools like Kentucky and Arizona are going after him hard.
Most frequent comparison: Blake Griffin
ESPNHS comparison: Derrick Williams
The most obvious similarity between Gordon and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Derrick Williams is that they can both fly. At Arizona, Williams put himself on the map by viciously dunking on Duke repeatedly in the 2011 NCAA tournament, and Gordon has that type of ability. And just as the 6-foot-8 Williams is carving out a role as a swing forward in the NBA, Gordon also falls somewhere between being a classic 3 or 4. Williams shot 51 percent from 3-point range in college, so Gordon is going to have to keep working on his stroke in order to make the transition to the perimeter. He's already got good ball-handling ability and solid mechanics on his jumper.
Gordon's comparison: Scottie Pippen
Gordon doesn't necessarily agree with the comparison he hears most often -- Blake Griffin. "I think that's people's way of saying that I'm one-dimensional, that all I can do is dunk," says Gordon. "I think I have more perimeter skills than that."
In fact, Gordon sees himself resembling one of the most skilled small forwards of all time in former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen. At 6-foot-8, 228 pounds, Pippen wasn't much bigger than Gordon is now. He won six NBA championships and earned a reputation as one of the most well-rounded stars in NBA history, averaging 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.0 steals for his career. He often served as a primary ball-handler and distributor, and he was selected to the NBA's All-Defensive first team eight times.
Gordon believes he can develop that type of skill set.
"I'm definitely more of a Pippen," he says. "I think eventually I'm going to be most effective facing the basket and working out near the 3-point line. I could even develop more explosiveness and play as a really big 2."
Player: Aquille Carr
School: Patterson (Baltimore, Md.)
Position: Point guard
ESPN 100: No. 78
Who is Aquille Carr?
This right-handed guard is arguably the most exciting player in high school basketball. Known for flashy offensive play, the diminutive Carr scored 1,990 points through his first three seasons of high school. As a freshman, Carr pumped in 25.5 points per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 32 points, six assists and five rebounds and led the Clippers to a 25-2 record and the Class 4A state title. Affectionately known as "The Crime Stopper" because the crime rates in Baltimore supposedly go down during Patterson games, Carr's continued improvement in translating his crowd-pleasing play into Patterson wins culminated in the state title game this year. The Seton Hall commit scored 28 points and dished out eight assists. Last summer, Carr solidified his status as one of the nation's top players by earning co-MVP honors at the Boost Mobile Elite 24 with 21 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and four steals. He set an event record for most steals and only Brandon Jennings dished out more assists in a single game.
According to ESPN RecruitingNation, Carr's quickness, explosiveness and confidence make him an elite talent in the 2013 class. On the flip side, ESPN's scouts believe Carr's size will limit him at some point if he doesn't tone down his game, make the simple basketball play and learn to play without the ball. Many of the abilities a player his size needs at the Division I level -- quick hands and feet, compact strength, court awareness and jumping ability -- he already possesses. The abilities Carr's game lacks right now -- a jump stop to avoid charges, a pull-up to keep bigger defenders off balance and a quick catch-and-shoot to offset his height -- he can learn. If he can channel his skills on the defensive end like he does with the ball in his hands, Carr will be an impact college player.
ESPNHS comparison: Nate Robinson
There are noticeable similarities between Carr and the current Golden State Warriors guard. Obviously their height (Robinson is listed at a generous 5-foot-9) and compact bodies stand out. Both can absorb contact and finish in the key. Robinson has won the NBA's slam dunk contest three times, while "The Crime Stopper" is a YouTube sensation for his highlight reel dunks and acrobatic layups. Many felt Robinson had a more realistic shot at a career in the NFL rather than the NBA. He was a top 100 basketball prospect, but earned a football scholarship to Washington, where he played both sports. Carr has a football background, too, playing Pop Warner as a ninth-grader. He's expressed interest in playing for Patterson, but basketball coach Harry Martin said he'd be considered, "one of the dumbest coaches in the country" if Carr got hurt on the gridiron.
Aquille's comparison: Nate Robinson
Carr loves the comparison to Robinson, if nothing more than to inspire improvement in his own game.
"It's a great comparison because our sizes are similar," Carr said. "He's a little stronger, but that comes from working hard."
With a unique confidence rarely seen in a player his size, Carr doesn't pattern his game after just any one player. He doesn't want to be the second anyone, just the first Aquille Carr.
Carr is also compared to a pair of Baltimore high school legends: former Dunbar sparkplug Muggsy Bouges, the shortest player ever to compete in the NBA at 5-foot-3, and playground legend Nut Rogers, the former Lake Clifton star who at 5-foot-4 was the 1999 Atlantic-10 Player of the Year for George Washington after leading the league in points, assists and steals.
"Aquille has played against Rogers and has spoken to Muggsy," Martin said. "I played against Rogers in high school and he was bigger in terms of weight and strength, but Aquille is much faster with the basketball. Muggsy was better defensively. He was phenomenal getting in and underneath his man. Aquille needs work on the defensive end, but he expends so much energy for us on offense we have him check the weaker guard. We want him to trap because he has great instincts."
If Carr improves in the areas Martin mentioned at Seton Hall, he could join Bouges (1987), Rogers (1999) and Robinson (2005) as winner of The Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award, given to the NCAA's best senior under 6-foot.
Despite his well-known bravado, Carr is savvy enough to understand that if he takes his game to the NBA level, he won't be the top scoring option for his team like he is now. Even if he doesn't want to, his game will have to pattern Robinson's.
"He's real scrappy and that's how he gets things done," Carr said.
As I've said all along about Carr he def could easily be an "IMPACT" player at the next level, when your that freakin quick and explosive, you can only hold your self back, shout out to the people who really think he can't be one tho.
Carr could cut it in the league as a jj barea/Nate Robinson type spark plug off the bench
Gordon sounds delusional.
The Julius Randle comparisons are way off. Jabari Parker is more Caron Butler. Julius is more B Easy
Muhammad = better James Harden
Parker = Melo/Pierce
Randle = Josh Smith
Gordon = Derrick Williams/Griffin
An. Harrison = lesser D. Rose with a shot
Aa. Harrison = E.Gordon/Beal
Carr = Nate Robinson
Wiggins = T-Mac/Pippen