Most of John Calipari’s “one-and-done” players during his time at Kentucky have been McDonald’s All-Americans and former 5-stars just biding time before the NBA. Think Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and De’Aaron Fox among others.
Tyler Herro is a different animal this year. The Whitnall (Wis.) native came to Lexington as a 4-star and the No. 37 player nationally per 247 Sports. Not bad, but still the lowest-ranked prospect in the second-best class in the country.
The 6-foot-5, 195-pounder has defied expectations and finds himself climbing NBA Draft boards. He’s done this by averaging 14.2 points (on 36.8 percent shooting from deep), 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists on a potential No. 1 seeded team. This included a 29-point explosion last month versus Arkansas.
Entering Friday night’s SEC Tournament quarterfinal with Alabama (7 p.m. EST, SEC Network), he’s looking to build momentum to draw even more draft buzz right before March Madness.
Let’s take a dive into his prognostications, as well as mock drafts and big boards.
Tyler Herro Draft Projections & Mock Draft
Jeremy Woo of SI.com lists him as the No. 34 overall prospect on his most recent mock draft. He bumped him up 9 spots since his last update.
Crucially for Kentucky, which had high expectations for him coming into the season, Herro has begun to pick up his play and his confidence has soared in recent weeks. He might be the Wildcats’ most talented player with his ability to make deep, difficult threes, particularly off the dribble. His body type doesn’t have much appeal from an NBA standpoint, and he might be a liability defensively as such. But given his jump shooting plays in a variety of situations and could be an elite skill, Herro should have a chance to play his way into the first round as long as he plays well down the stretch. Teams are generally willing to take fliers on shooters, and he might be one of the best ones in this class.
Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype shows the diparity of opinions surrounding Herro, ranking him No. 41 overall. That includes a late first-round projection from ESPN, as well as 3 other outlets leaving him out of the draft entirely.
“Herro is playing himself into the 2019 draft, catching fire early in February and running with it ever since. With 29 points on 10 attempts against Arkansas on Tuesday, he put on a shot-making clinic that highlighted his picturesque form and ability to convert off movement. He shot 51.4 percent from three during the month of February. Herro can be hit-or-miss as a decision-maker and defender, but if he continues to bury jumpers at this rate—he certainly has the confidence to build a lengthy hot streak—teams could target him this June for his off-ball shot-making.”
Tyler Herro NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
ESPN’s Draft Board has him as the No. 6 shooting guard and No. 27 player overall, which figures into the late first-round.
Aran Smith’s NBA Draft Net has him as the No. 86 player in his top-100 prospects.
While not offering an official grade, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic polled 50 coaches anonymously to evaluate prospects. Here’s what one had to say about Herro, suggesting he should come back for his sophomore season.
“He’s a good, not great shooter. He’s got a good feel as a passer. I don’t look at him as someone who can be a secondary handler. I look at him more the way Kentucky uses him, where he’s constantly flying off screens. He’s got a good ability to curl screens and get in the lane, where he has pretty good touch. Good passer out of there.”
He could cement late first-round projections with a productive and deep run in the NCAA Tournament starting next week.