Aaron Harrison knows there’s a very real possibility that people “will read too much” into the fact that he and his twin brother, Andrew, are going to wait and sign with Kentucky during the NCAA’s late signing period in April.
“People will probably run with that, but it doesn’t mean anything,” said Aaron, a senior shooting guard at Travis (Richmond, Texas) who, along with Andrew, is a consensus top five player in the country. “We’re just making sure everything stays the same with coaching and things like that. Just a precaution I’d say. We won’t be changing our minds though. Not going through that again.”
That completely kills the popular theory that elite players purposely wait to sign during the late period to capitalize off the heightened attention from coaches and media.
A “crazy” notion, according to Julius Randle, the No. 2 player in the Rivals150 who has yet to commit to any school. Last season four of the top 10 players in the Rivals150 signed late.
“People think that we wait because we want to be the last one to sign and that doesn’t even make sense,” said Randle, a senior forward at Prestonwood Christian (Plano, Texas). “Trust me this process is too stressful to not want it to be over as soon as possible, but most of us just aren’t sure or we haven’t had the time to take visits and meet with coaches. For me, I want to see 100 percent what will be there when I get there. We’ve got legit reasons why we’re waiting.”
Be that as it may, other elite players maintain that signing late is a mistake.
“Too many benefits not to sign early,” said Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) senior point guard Nate Britt. “Way too many.”
We caught up with Britt and a handful of other players and had them dish on the top five reasons why it’s better to sign early.
5. Relieves stress
Nate Britt, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), PG
Signing with: North Carolina
“The whole process is the most stressful thing that you can go through. It’s really crazy having to answer a bunch of questions every day about whether you’re firmly committed to your school or where you’re going. Then talking to all of the coaches is stressful because you like all of them and you don’t want to hurt their feelings and things like that. After a while the recruiting process starts to affect everything, even the way you play. So getting it out of the way can definitely take the stress off. That’s reason enough to get it out of the way.”
4. Gives you your life back
Brannen Greene, Tift County (Forsyth, Ga.), SF
Signing with: Kansas
“It allows me to completely focus because it's an official end to the recruiting process. I can just be a regular high school kid again. That’s the best part. Now coaches know that I am totally committed to the program and feedback becomes more honest and upfront, so I can be prepared to have a successful freshman year. I can just focus on winning a state title and being a kid.”
3. Gives credibility with other recruits
Troy Williams, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), SF
Signing with: Indiana
“Other players want to be sure you’re gonna be there when you’re talking to them. Like I was trying to get Noah (Vonleh) to commit here and the biggest thing that helped was the fact that I told him I was signing early. I told him about the school, the team, the coaches and everything, but the biggest thing was him knowing I was definitely coming. Now he’s coming too.”
2. Improves your game
Kasey Hill, Montverde (Montverde, Fla.), PG
Signing with: Florida
“The biggest thing is that getting this out of the way helps you concentrate on your game more and getting better. It’s like a stress reliever too. You don’t have to worry about what school you’re going to and things like that; you can just go hard and work on the things you need to do to get better.”
1. Stops other coaches from recruiting you
Wayne Selden, Tilton (Tilton, N.H.), SF
Signing with: Kansas
“It feels great to know that the only coaches who will be contacting you will be your soon-to-be coaches. That’s big because it can be overwhelming to have so many coaches calling all the time. I know a lot of guys who feel that way. Now your coach isn’t telling you what you want to hear, he’s telling you what you need to hear.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSAToday.