2019 Draft Workouts: Tyler Herro

June 14, 2019 - During his freshman season at Kentucky, Tyler Herro was an elite shooter, knocking down 93.5 percent of his free throws. Herro talked about what he learned during his year in Lexington.

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2019 Draft Workouts: Tyler Herro

June 14, 2019 - During his freshman season at Kentucky, Tyler Herro was an elite shooter, knocking down 93.5 percent of his free throws. Herro talked about what he learned during his year in Lexington.
Jun 14, 2019  |  02:06

2019 Draft Workouts: Devin Cannady

June 14, 2019 - Princeton guard Devin Cannady speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 14, 2019  |  01:28

2019 Draft Workouts: Cameron Jackson

June 14, 2019 - Wofford forward Cameron Jackson speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 14, 2019  |  01:48

2019 Draft Workouts: Christian James

June 14, 2019 - Following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers, Oklahoma guard Christian James talked about what he's aiming to showcase.
Jun 14, 2019  |  01:25

2019 Draft Workouts: Lamar Peters

June 14, 2019 - Point guard Lamar Peters improved as a passer each season at Mississippi State and is aiming to show teams that his playmaking can translate to the next level.
Jun 14, 2019  |  01:14

2019 Draft Workouts: JaKeenan Gant

June 14, 2019 - Louisiana-Lafayette forward JaKeenan Gant speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss following his pre-draft workout with the Pacers at the St. Vincent Center.
Jun 14, 2019  |  01:31

Herro's Shooting Could be Welcome in Indiana

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor

The end is in sight for Tyler Herro.

The last 11 weeks have been a whirlwind for the 19-year-old guard from Milwaukee.

Since his freshman season at Kentucky came to a heartbreaking end when the Wildcats fell in overtime to Auburn in the Elite Eight in Kansas City on March 31, Herro has bounced across the country as he prepares for the NBA Draft, working out for and interviewing with a number of teams with draft selections in the middle of the first round.

Herro auditioned for the Pacers on Friday morning at the St. Vincent Center and will visit Minnesota on Saturday. After that, he can exhale and have a few days to rest before heading to Brooklyn for the draft on Thursday night.

"It's a long process, traveling city to city, staying by yourself, and things like that," Herro said. "It's an enjoyable process but I'm happy it's going to come to an end.

"I'm ready to just know what city I'm going to, really."

There is seemingly a good possibility that Herro will be looking into real estate in Indianapolis in a week's time, at least if you believe what you read on the internet. A number of the latest mock drafts have the 6-6 guard headed to the Pacers with the 18th overall pick.

2019 DRAFT CENTRAL: Complete Coverage at Pacers.com/Draft »

Herro fits a definite need for the Pacers with his ability to stretch the floor. Indiana ranked fifth in the NBA a year ago in 3-point percentage but was 29th in 3-point attempts, a number that will have to improve in a league that increasingly values outside shooting.

The Pacers also could be looking to re-stock their backcourt. All-Star guard Victor Oladipo is coming off of major surgery to repair a ruptured quad tendon and it is uncertain if he will be ready for the start of the season. Fellow guards Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, and Wesley Matthews are all entering free agency, as is small forward Bojan Bogdanovic, Indiana's best outside shooter and go-to offensive option after Oladipo's injury.

Herro was the second-leading scorer on a loaded Kentucky team that featured three probable first-round picks in this year's draft. He led the Wildcats in minutes played, averaging 14 points per game while primarily playing off the ball, providing spacing with his ability to stretch the floor.

He posted a respectable .355 3-point percentage but is a much better shooter than that number indicates. After an early-season slump, he converted 37.3 percent of his 3-point attempts in SEC play and led the NCAA in free throw percentage at .935.

Herro shot well in shooting drills in front of the Pacers' coaching staff and executives at the end of Friday's workout, displaying a quick release and smooth stroke.

Tyler Herro

Herro shoots at Friday's pre-draft workout at St. Vincent Center. (Photo Credit: @Pacers)

While some prospects want to be drafted as high as possible and others want to go to the organization they think is the best "fit" for their skillset, Herro isn't that picky. He said he has tried to "meet with every team possible" during the pre-draft process and isn't too picky about where he ends up. He is seemingly a lock to go in the first round, with a range from the late lottery to the early 20s.

"I watch a lot of NBA basketball," Herro said. "Everybody's really going in the same direction, spacing the floor, shooting threes, and playing defense. So I'm coming in here open minded. I don't care what team I'm drafted to. Just happy to have an opportunity to play in the NBA and make a name for myself."

While Herro played primarily off the ball in college, he does possess the ability to handle the ball as well. He shot better off the dribble than off the catch in college and also displayed a nice array of finishing moves inside the 3-point arc.

While Herro raved about his time at Kentucky and the influence coach John Calipari had on his career, he also realizes that he wasn't able to display his full arsenal of abilities during his year in Lexington.

"At Kentucky, you've just got to make sacrifices for the team," Herro said. "There's usually 10 top-10 guys going there. Everyone brings something special and at Kentucky I brought my shooting.

"I can do more than just shoot. I can play with the ball in my hands (and) come off the pick-and-roll."

While Herro is a good athlete and has plenty of size at 6-6 to play either guard position in the NBA, his wingspan measured at just over 6-3 at the NBA Draft Combine. That lack of length and questionable lateral quickness mean that he could struggle defensively at the next level.

But when you're picking 18th in the draft, you won't find a player without some hole in his game. The gamble with Herro is that his offensive firepower outweighs any potential defensive shortcomings.

The NBA invited Herro to sit in the green room at the draft next week. He plans to be there and will undoubtedly be joined by Calipari, who is becoming a fixture at the draft as Kentucky has had at least two players selected in the first round in each of the past nine seasons.

"He helped me in so many ways," Herro said of Calipari's influence. "He pretty much changed my whole game as far as just being a pro and looking at things as a professional. The first day I stepped on campus, he treated me like a pro.

"It was a good experience to go there and I was happy I made that decision."

Devin Cannady, Christian James, Lamar Peters

Guards Devin Cannady (left), Christian James (center), and Lamar Peters (right) all worked out for the Pacers on Friday. (Photo Credit: @Pacers)

Trio of Guards Hoping to Earn Scouts' Attention

Herro was joined at Friday's workout by three other guards, Princeton's Devin Cannady, Oklahoma's Christian James, and Mississippi State's Lamar Peters. All three are candidates for the second round of the draft and are looking to impress a team enough to at least earn a Summer League invitation if they go undrafted.

For Cannady, Friday's workout was a homecoming of sorts. Cannady grew up in Mishawaka, where he attended Marian High School. In 2015, Cannady had a team-high 17 points leading his home state to victory in the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star Game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"It's nice having the Pacers bring me in, being home," Cannady said Friday. "I saw my family yesterday. I appreciate them bringing me in. It was a great workout."

Cannady was a prolific scorer in the Ivy League, averaging 11.6 points per game as a freshman and increasing his scoring average every season, up to 18.2 as a senior. Cannady relied heavily on his jump shot, shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range and 89.6 percent from the free throw line over his college career.

While he played primarily off the ball in college, the 6-1 Cannady will likely need to slide over to point guard at the next level.

"I'm competitive, I love the game," Cannady said. "I can shoot with the best of them, so if teams need shooting, need guys who are tough and smart, I can bring that."

James is a 6-4 shooting guard who averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 rebounds as a senior at Oklahoma. Since he finished his college career, James has actually been training a couple hours up I-69 in Fort Wayne with his agency, Potter Sports Group, founded by Mad Ants founder Jeff Potter.

James credited a lot of his development over his four years with the Sooners to legendary coach Lon Kruger. Kruger has compiled over 600 wins at the collegiate level, including a pair of Final Four appearances, and also has experience coaching in the NBA from 2003-04.

"Coach Kruger has really helped me with my game, just learning the game of basketball," James said. "He's really helped me with my IQ, making plays for (teammates), and being a team leader."

Peters burst onto the scene in his first year at Mississippi State in 2016-17, when he was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after averaging 10.7 points per game and shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range.

Those numbers dipped his sophomore season, but he bounced back his junior year, setting career highs for points (11.9 per game), assists (5.2), steals (1.7), and 3-point percentage (.386). Peters elected to forgo his senior season and enter the draft.

Being a smaller guard at just 6 feet tall hurts Peters' draft stock, but he does have experience running the point in college under coach Ben Howland.

"My coaches put in my head that I've got to be a point guard first and make plays for others," Peters said. "Coming out of high school, I was more of a scorer. But coaches instilled in me (that) you've got to get other guys involved."

JaKeenan Gant, Cameron Jackson

Big men JaKeenan Gant (left) and Cameron Jackson (right) rounded out Friday's pre-draft workout. (Photo Credit: @Pacers)

Gant, Jackson Hope Effort and Energy Impress NBA Teams

The final two prospects at Friday's workout were a pair of power forwards: Louisiana-Lafayette's JaKeenan Gant and Wofford's Cameron Jackson.

Gant began his college career at Missouri but transferred to Louisiana-Lafayette after two years. He was extremely productive in his two seasons with the Ragin' Cajuns, including a monster senior year, when he averaged 20.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from 3-point range.

The 6-8 forward has some intriguing qualities between his athleticism and his ability to stretch the floor (he attempted 113 3-pointers his senior season).

"I bring a lot of energy," Gant said Friday. "I like dunking the ball, I can shoot. I do a little bit of everything."

Gant was an elite rim protector in college, swatting 156 shots over his two seasons at Louisiana-Lafayette and winning Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year honors as both a junior and a senior. The question scouts will want answered in pre-draft workouts is how well that skillset carries over against higher-level competition.

Jackson is a 6-8, 258-pound forward who was a bruising presence on a Wofford team that earned its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in March. Jackson came up big in that victory over Seton Hall, tallying 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.

On the season, the fifth-year senior (an injury forced him to redshirt his sophomore season) averaged 14.5 points on 57.3 percent shooting, 7.6 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals.

Like James, Jackson has also been training for the draft in Fort Wayne. He hopes his all-out effort in pre-draft workouts turns some heads.

"I see myself being a junkyard dog, just going in, getting after loose balls, playing defense, getting rebounds, finishing putbacks...just doing the dirty work," Jackson said.

He certainly embodied that mentality on Friday, when he sustained a cut on his left eye during the workout. Jackson received stitches and returned to finish the workout.


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