At this point, there's no reason to read anything into anything in the recruitment anymore. We're basically there already, just save yourself the heartache. But for recruitniks who've been following this for a solid two years now, might as well keep on riding the rollercoaster.
The first bit, from Prisbell (of all people) at USA Today (of all outlets).
Aaron Harrison Sr. said he enjoyed a "very good" lunch with Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Bino Ranson today. ... "Maryland has come on strong in the end," Harrison Sr. said in a telephone interview after the lunch.
Good news? Or platitudinous nothings? Probably the latter, but hey, it beats fading.
Of course, it doesn't change the paradigm in any way - Papa likes Turgeon and Bino, we've known that for a solid year now. I'd assume the Twins were in school at the time, and that there'll be a proper in-home later in the day. That'll be more important, if it matters at all.
Meanwhile, everyone and their mother is talking about the Under Armour relationship, to the point where it's become the dominant storyline. There's the Prisbell piece from yesterday, plus Gary Parrish and Eamon Brennan are weighing in now, too. I wish I could tell you there's something really insightful in there ... but I'm not sure there is. Evan Daniels mentioned it earlier today: the UA/Cal story is sexy, and writers like Prisbell and Parrish care about sexy. They're not recruiting guys, they don't understand the culture and know the characters; they just see an interesting story and run with it.
They're also going to paint Maryland as the bad guy. Because that's the sexy story. It's a break from painting UK and Cal as evil villains; it's new, it's interesting. It's also ridiculous, considering the guy on the other side is John Calipari, with all the power of Kentucky and Nike backing him. Expect to see Parrish talking about how Maryland would never have a chance with the Twins "all things being equal." Expect to see a lot of Sonny Vaccaro saying, "Without Under Armour, there's no logical way for anyone to think Maryland could compete head-to-head with Kentucky on two people like this from Texas."
That's ignoring, of course, how Calipari and Kentucky got there in the first place - they, just like every other successful program in college basketball, built their empire on brand. Maryland and Under Armour aren't doing anything new here; they're doing the same thing that Nike's done for years, that people like Calipari and schools like Kentucky have profited from. But now the narrative's changed, someone else will profit off the tactic, and people largely don't know how to deal with it aside from bemoaning the state of the game and insinuating that this was a dirty recruitment for Maryland. That's laughable.
Look, UA is playing a role here. That's obvious, and I'm not going to make myself look silly claiming otherwise. But is it the deciding factor? Doubtful. It's not like they considered, even for a second, even a single other UA school. No, Maryland's in this to begin with because the Twins' dad feels most comfortable with them, because they have Maryland roots, and because Bino Ranson and Mark Turgeon are the two most underrated recruiters in the game. And if Maryland wins this, those will be the biggest factors.
Besides, since when did Kentucky not have an advantage with Nike kids? Or UCLA with adidas kids? Heck, that's partially how UK got to be where they are now, that unstoppable machine that no one can rationally beat for "two kids from Texas." Look, I came up following recruiting under Gary, so I hate the presence of brands in CBB more than most. And if anyone wants to have a legitimate discussion about that, I have no problem with it. But that's not what's happening. They're acting like this is a new phenomenon, like Maryland and Under Armour are doing something new and radical, when it's clear they're not doing anything of the sort. They're not even the worst offenders at this; that'd be those guys in blue.
But don't expect to see people shouting that from the rooftops. Don't expect to see Vaccaro saying "This is not a new game. We've been playing this game for a long time," in any headlines. Because that narrative isn't sexy - hell, it's downright complicated. Just don't let it get to you, when they inevitably come; you know better.
Enough of that. We'll have plenty of time to do it throughout the week. Let's transition to lighter fare: the return of Twitter rumors. There are going to be a lot of people claiming they know what's happening in the next 24 hours - unless it's Telep or Ermann or someone like that, don't buy it. I believe our friends across the pond call these types "chancers" - hey, you've got a 50-50 shot, basically, and if you get it right there'll be some simple types who'll follow you around like your word is Juan. If you're trying to build up some cred even though you have no way of legitimately doing so, this type of thing is probably your best shot. (And be especially skeptical if it's a Kentucky/Maryland guy calling them to their own school.)
But not all Twitter rumors are baseless. It's just tough as hell to sort the wheat from the chaff at this point. Here's an interesting one that's been talked about a bit from Eric Bickel from the Sports Junkies and could have legs:
More rumors regarding the Harrison twins....someone in the athletic dept at MD claims that the father is shopping for condos in MD.— Eric Bickel (@EBJunkies) October 3, 2012
He's not exactly the type you'd expect to have inside info, but hey, he did call the Turgeon hire, among other things. So if you're looking for a rumor to clutch on to and believe, this is your one. Let's just hope this doesn't have anything to do with him just looking to reconnect with his roots.
But if you're trying to stay level-headed, just ride out the storm at this point. The mania surrounding this reminds me of the mania that surrounded the Sean Miller debacle; anyone from any outlet could be getting legit info that turns bad at any minute, for all we know. Figuring out what's what is a fool's errand. Just enjoy, as much as you possibly can. In about 24 hours, it'll all be over. And we'll either be setting couches on fire, or ... well, still setting couches on fire.