Harrow transferring from Kentucky to Georgia State

Former Walton High standout Ryan Harrow is transferring from Kentucky to Georgia State and is going to petition the NCAA for the right to play in the 2013-14 season.

Harrow is transferring because his father suffered a stroke before the 2012-13 basketball season and is in poor health. Instead of making a player sit out a year per its rules, the NCAA has numerous times granted a player immediate eligibility in similar situations. If his approval is granted, Harrow, a sophomore, would have two years of eligibility at Georgia State.

“I really need to be home with him to be closer to him to make sure he’s taken care of,” Harrow said.

Harrow, 6-2, would provide coach Ron Hunter’s team an immediate starter in the backcourt, either at point guard or shooting guard. He averaged 9.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists for the Wildcats this year. Hunter said he couldn’t comment until Harrow signs his scholarship papers, which is supposed to happen Monday.

Devonta White, Georgia State’s point guard, is entering his senior year. He can also play shooting guard. David Travers, a freshman who played the point last year, announced in March that he is leaving the program.

Hunter has said he wants to add a level of toughness to the backcourt and the perimeter defense. Harrow has the credentials to do that, but he also has an interesting history.

Harrow signed with N.C. State after being named Georgia’s 5A High School Player of the Year. He spent a year in Raleigh before transferring to Kentucky after the Wolfpack fired coach Sidney Lowe. Harrow scored at least 10 points in 18 of the Wildcats’ last 24 games.

However, he may be remembered for having to leave the team at the beginning of the year with what at the time was being described as a sickness but what he said on Sunday was his dad’s stroke. He returned and finished with 24 starts. He scored a career-high 23 points against Marshall, but also went scoreless in back-to-back games at Florida and at Tennessee later in the season.

But most Kentucky fans will remember Harrow’s play in the loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC tournament, a defeat that may have cost the Wildcats a chance at defending their national title. Harrow missed 13 of his 15 shots to finish with four points, After the game, he said he was the reason the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the second time in 22 years.

“This is on me,” he was quoted as saying in the Louisville Courier-Journal. “If I would have played well, we would have won. That’s how it always is. If I play well then we play well. If I don’t play well then the team doesn’t seem to produce. So that’s on me, and this loss is on me.”

Courier-Journal reporter Kyle Tucker described a somber scene in the Kentucky locker room in which none of Harrow’s teammates came over to offer an encouraging word after the loss during the time the media were allowed in the locker room. Even coach John Calipari implied Harrow was the reason saying:

“We had one guy go 2 for 15, miss 12 layups,” Calipari said.

Harrow followed with a five-point effort in a shocking 59-57 loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT that finished Kentucky’s season.

Calipari issued a statement on Sunday saying that he wished Harrow the best of luck at Georgia State.

Harrow said he learned from those losses that when he plays well the team will play well. He said he thought he was treated fairly at Kentucky and has nothing but positive thoughts about the school and program. He said he just needed to return home to help take care of his father, who lives in College Park.

“I got better there,” he said. “I built some relationships there. I know next year we would have been really good. It was just real important for me to be with my dad. With him being sick like this, I needed to be there with him.”

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