Tyler Herro has become an integral part of this year’s Kentucky team. After the Bahamas, that much was obvious. But what many did not know back in August was the menace he would become on defense, the villain he would become during away games and the consistency he would offer from the free throw line. Throw in his 13 rebounds against Tennessee and a 35 percent completion percentage from deep, and you’ve got a pretty well-rounded player. And that’s what makes assistant coach Kenny Payne so happy.
“He’s a basketball player, not just a shooter,” Payne said today on the John Calipari call-in show. “He’s shown people that.”
But that’s just one of the two reasons Coach Payne said he’s proud of the freshman guard. The other reason? Herro’s ability to play well in a hostile environment.
“I like road dogs; I like kids who can go to the other arena and dominate and play their best games on the road or in a big rivalry games – that says something about you,” Payne said. “Typically, all good teams play well at home. Special teams and special players play well on the road.”
By that standard, Tyler Herro is most definitely special. A quick look at Herro’s season stat line backs it up: he’s a beast on the road. He’s averaging 12.3 points per game at Rupp, while he’s averaging 16.1 points per game on the road. On the season, Kentucky is 13-0 when Herro scores 15 points or more.
That’s impressive, and his recent performances have been on the upswing: the Tennessee game was one his best overall performances of the season and his 15 points against Missouri were the most he’s scored since his (road) game against Florida. But Kenny Payne says Herro’s not done.
“I think he’s [showing] 80 percent of how good he is. There is still a lot of growth left in that kid. Hopefully he can give us 19 percent more by the end of the season. I’ll let him off with 19.”
Tyler Herro at 99 percent by March? I’ll take it.