There’s arguably no one on the country that’s more scrutinized than Andrew Harrison. Whether it’s the national media, cough cough Jeff Goodman, going on rants about how the Wildcats need to play Tyler Ulis more than Harrison to be as good as possible or fans at Rupp Arena wanting more Ulis, Andrew Harrison takes the blame for the majority of times Kentucky struggles.
Well, it’s time to understand who Andrew Harrison is and how he’s truly a John Calipari point guard. It’s not just the 18 point, three rebound, three assist performance he had against Arkansas in which Calipari said “his play was ridiculous.” Go back the last 11 games and look at the stat line Harrison is putting up. 11.5 points, 4.1 assists and 1.5 turnovers per game. He’s doing all that while playing no more than 31 minutes in any of those contests. In two of the games, at LSU and at Mississippi State, he didn’t even commit a turnover.
So, instead of looking for Harrison to be the scapegoat, let’s all appreciate just how talented he is and how good of a season he’s putting together. Sure, Ulis might look smoother with the ball or make that extra-umph on a pass, but Harrison has been the leader of a team currently sitting at 30-0. He’s transformed his game this season by cutting down on turnovers.
In fact, let’s go back just a night ago. On the road in arguably the most hostile environment Kentucky has played in this year. Georgia was leading Kentucky by two with less than 2:30 to go in the first half. Without missing a beat, Harrison took the game over and single-handily gave the Wildcats some life.
It started with a three right in front of Georgia’s bench to give Kentucky a one-point lead. Just 13 seconds later, Harrison read the offense and jumped a pass to grab a steal that led to a fastbreak. Instead of finishing with a layup, Yante Maten committed a flagrant foul sending Harrison to the line. Calmly hitting two free throws, he then caught the inbound pass and drilled a 15-foot jumper.
More importantly, this was in a game where Tyler Ulis didn’t seem like his normal self. He started the game with an airball before missing two wide open looks from deep. He did finish the game, however, with four assists and five rebounds while also playing 31 minutes like Harrison.
It showed the two guys play perfect off each other. Ulis being the traditional pass-first point guard allows Harrison to run off the ball and get a head of steam to get into the lane.
It’s truly a luxury to have two point guards with the talent of Harrison and Ulis, who have two completely different skill sets. Harrison, though, is turning the corner and looking like the Calipari point guards of the past. He’s getting to the rim and looking to attack on a more consistent basis. Maybe that’ll keep Goodman quiet for another week.