Kentucky freshman Tyler Herro wasted no time letting his presence be felt in the Bahamas, leading the team in points and looking the part of a one-and-done.
Herro averaged 17.3 points over four games, hitting 44% of his three-point attempts and all 15 of his free throws. He showed that he is a dangerous weapon and could be the Wildcats’ top scorer on the season.
Tyler Herro putting on a show. pic.twitter.com/6or4XNps4R— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 12, 2018
If Herro is able to continue scoring at a clip of 15 points per game, it changes everything about what Kentucky is able to do offensively. This could be one of the highest scoring teams Calipari has had at Kentucky.
Cal apparently loved what he saw out of Herro on on the trip.
“How about Tyler Herro’s — I’ll use the term ‘swagger,’” Calipari said in his post-Bahamas press conference. “I grabbed him and said, that’s what I want from you. I said, I want you to expect every shot to go in...”
.@raf_tyler seems to be enjoying his time in The #BigBlueBahamas as much as any member of #BBN pic.twitter.com/LYkzVJvm5d— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) August 10, 2018
However, he has to be able to play better defense to stay on the court against top competition. Although overall team defense looked strong in the Bahamas, there were times when Herro was obviously the weakest link.
While his athleticism was on full display on the offensive end, Herro often had trouble staying in front of quicker opponents. He also does not inherently love contact, so he is not always as aggressive on the defensive end as he is with the ball in his hands.
While fouls are not usually used as a positive metric, Herro was next to last on the team (Quade Green led the way) with 6 personal fouls during the trip for all primary players that saw action in every game. The lack of fouls can certainly show us discipline and body control for some players, but for others it could be the result of a lack of defensive prowess.
Herro’s low foul count shows us two things. Herro was often not in a position to make a strong play on the ball, and he was not physical enough to initiate contact.
If he could get to a place where he shows the same aggression on defense as he does when trying to score, he could really help the team out on that end of the floor.
Tyler Herro with the strong take to the cup. pic.twitter.com/eyXF5u2pu1— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) August 12, 2018
Again, even though we have already seen four games it is still early. John Calipari and his staff have time to work with Herro on his lateral movement, positioning, and physicality.
If he works as hard on his defensive footwork as he has on his jumper, I expect Herro to be a completely different defender come November. And when that happens, it will be hard to keep him off the floor in any situation.
“Tyler is playing well,” Calipari said. “I just told him, it’s good to play well like you did, but now, that’s a standard to grow from. Now you’re going to have to go from where you are to grow. That’s the downside of it.”
If he continues to grow defensively, there will be no downside to what he brings to the court this season.
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