He’s coached twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, both top five players nationally, for two years at Travis High School in Richmond, Texas, and won’t start to pretend they were not great players when he first saw them. However, coach Craig Brownson says they were never ones to quit working to get better.
“They were excellent players as 15-year-old kids. They had all the tools, but they have also continued to get better in all facets of the game. They came in very good and you could tell they were special, but they never minded working to keep getting better,” said Brownson.
Brownson says wherever they go, fans are going to enjoy watching them play because of their personalities as much as their skills.
“They are very humble, very thankful for what position they have been put in,” the coach said. “They are just regular kids. They just want to fit in with the rest of the school. For kids so highly touted and to get so much attention, they truly just want to be part of our team. They don’t expect special treatment or anything. They bring everybody’s level up in practice because they work so hard. They make all our players raise their game, and that’s great for us.”
Because of the Harrisons, the team will play in the prestigious Palm Springs MaxPreps Holiday Classic in California in December. However, they are also coming to Kentucky Nov. 30-Dec. 1 for the Marshall County Hoop Fest in western Kentucky.
“We would never have this opportunity without them. We are a public school, not a private school. We don’t bring in recruits. We just have kids that live in our attendance zone. We don’t have the ability to take on the kinds of teams we are going to play if we don’t have the twins here and nobody would want us. But now we can go play and bring in crowds. It has been hard around here to find games. Not a lot of teams want to play us. Next year we will be good on games. Nobody will have a problem playing us (after the Harrisons are gone).”
Even though the Harrisons are set to make their college choice Oct. 29, Brownson is not sure they will sign in the November signing period.
“I think they will commit early, but they may sign in the late period (in the spring). I do think they want to commit early and plan to,” Brownson said.
The twins were gone most of the summer playing AAU events and Brownson will not have his first official practice with the team until October.
“We do have an athletic period in school and I get that time with them,” Brownson said. “I have not coached them outside of the season, but I know they had a great summer. They work with a number of people to addition to their AAU¿play. They do all kind of individual workouts. There is no area they are weak at. There’s nothing in particular they really have to focus on to improve.
“Andrew has got to be more consistent with his jump shot, but there’s not really anything we have to address with them both to make them great players. We talk more about leadership than fundamentals. Everybody in our school looks up to them. You don’t get high school kids like them very often. Last year they made tremendous improvement in how they were as leaders. They are more comfortable in that role now.”
But what do they best that could excite UK¿fans if they do pick the Wildcats?
“They are very multi dimensional,” Brownson said. “They both have the ability to put the ball on the floor. Both can play the point. Aaron is the more consistent shooter, Andrew the better passer. They fit into those roles very well. Andrew traditionally has been the point guard, Aaron the shooting guard. But Aaron can bring the ball up the court and Andrew can run the wing, catch the ball and get by and move to the basket and knock down a 3. They have all the necessary skills to play where they want on the court.”
Brownson says the national recruiting attention the Harrisons have garnered has not been hard on him because their father is also their AAU coach. “He has done a great job communicating with the college coaches. I kind of play a small role in the whole thing,” Brownson said. “If a college wants to know when open gyms are or when the athletic period is to watch, I convey that information. Their dad did a great job organizing the whole process.
“They have parents that are involved and active in the process. That is very helpful to them, and me. They have someone who understands how the system works and is very protective of them.”