Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels said it was no surprise to him that point guard Ryan Harrow has decided to play for Kentucky after leaving North Carolina State.
“(Kentucky coach John) Calipari has a history of putting point guards in the NBA. It would be hard for any athlete to turn down that kind of track record,” Daniels said. “Harrow is a talent. He’s a wiry lead guard that handles the ball quite well and has impressive vision. He has an exciting game and an added flare to his play.
“He’s definitely a guy that will fit in, in a fast paced up and down system. He’s elusive and quick and will fit with what Calipari does in the dribble drive offense.”
The 6-1 Harrow, who also visited Texas, Louisville and Georgia, averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 assists per game for N.C. State last season before head coach Sidney Lowe was forced to quit and Harrow decided to transfer.
He says Calipari’s knack for developing point guards like Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Brandon Knight in recent years impacted his decision to come to Kentucky where he will have to sit out the 2011-12 season and then have three years of eligibility remaining. However, he says coming to UK¿is about more than Calipari’s point guard reputation.
“I just felt that at Kentucky I would reach all the goals I want to achieve for now and later on,” Harrow said. “The point guard thing is one reason I picked Kentucky. I¿think coach Calipari is a great coach and he has coached some pretty good guards and I¿hope I¿am next on that list. But this will be a good environment for me, too. Not just for basketball, but for me as a student-athlete as well.”
Daniels said it would be wrong to expect Harrow to be as good as Calipari’s last four point guards, or maybe even as talented as incoming freshman point guard Marquis Teague.
“I don’t think he’s quite the level of those guys, but still he’s a talent. He’s the next guy in line. He won’t be ‘one and done’ at Kentucky like those other guys, but he can still be a very good player,” Daniels said.
Blue Ribbon College Basketball editor Chris Dortch says the lack of top-notch point guards in the 2012 recruiting class makes landing Harrow a bonus for Calipari.
“Perhaps Cal and his staff saw that and wanted to get a sure bet in the house. Maybe he was tired of constantly having to break in a new point guard even, though he’s had pretty good success doing that the last four years. With Harrow allowed to practice, one would think he’d step right in in 2012-13,” Dortch said.
Harrow says it is not hard to describe his game.
“I am somebody who gets the job done, can run the team but score at the same time and someone who brings excitement to the game,” Harrow said.
He knows Wall, but did not consult him about playing at Kentucky. However, he admits that when Wall, the top pick in the 2010 NBA draft, was at UK¿it was a “bright spot” for him to watch the Wildcats. “I always liked coach Calipari because of his guards and it was just even better with John there,” Harrow said.
Harrow, who hopes to start summer school at UK¿in June, knows plenty of his future teammates, too. He “hung out” with Terrence Jones on his visit and knew both Jones, Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole from AAU¿play. He also knows incoming freshmen Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist and Teague.
“There will not be a lot of surprises. We all know what each other does. We just have to adjust to each others’ games,” he said.
Knowing those players and others will be at UK¿will make it easier for Harrow to adjust to not being allowed to play in games next year and only be on the court for practice.
“I think it would be pretty hard for anybody who loves the game and wants to be on the floor helping his team to sit out,” Harrow said. “But I¿look at this as a great learning experience. I will learn the offense, get faster, get stronger and start my relationship with the coaching staff and team so I can come out next year and not have to learn the whole system. I can work on all the things I need to work on and be ready to jump right in the next year.
“Knowing I would get to play against great players such as Teague, Gilchrist, Davis, Jones, Lamb, (Darius) Miller and others every day in practice did help me pick Kentucky because we all have the same goals to get better at the same time.”
He’s also anxious to interact with UK¿fans and insists he’ll embrace the spotlight Kentucky players often find themselves in because of the fan support.
“I like that. I¿have always talked to fans and try to have a good relationship with them,” Harrow said. “They are the ones who keep us going. I like fans. I am a pretty down to earth guy. I don’t just play basketball. I¿interact with people, too. I welcome the fan support because I’ve heard nothing but great things about them.”
The Georgia native says his mother had no problem with him picking UK¿over nearby Georgia, either.
“She thinks it is a great move,” Harrow said. “If it was my choice, I would bring my mom with me, but that’s not my choice. I just have to stay in touch with her even more, but she thinks playing at Kentucky is a great choice for me.”