The story of Tyler Herro.
Since 2009 when John Calipari became the head coach of The Kentucky Wildcats,
not a season has pasted when I hadn’t thought, I wish I could watch that guy another
I know many UK fans know exactly what I am saying. However, I 100% support Calipari,
the kids he recruits and his mission to help them get to the NBA as soon as they are ready to go.
As Calipari has said many times, it is not about us as fans, it is not about the University,
it is not about Calipari himself, it is about THE KIDS! Agree. Disagree, I believe it is a
law of life is.
“You can have anything in life if you want, if you help
other people get what they Want”
In Mathew 20 the verse says “He who wishes to be great must be the servant to many”. As a
business I have always believed your success is in direct proportion to the value you provide
to the market that you serve. That is our goal at WildcatGifts.com, to provide UK fans like us,
quality Kentucky Wildcat merchandise at great prices.
I sincerely believe that this is not coach speak for Calipari. It is a foundational principal that he
has operated by, probably his entire career, but definitely his during his time at Kentucky.
At this point, his track record at Kentucky is his track record. He doesn’t just talk the talk,
he walks the walk.
When fans start making it about them, and not the kids, we are setting ourselves up
I am thankful for the guys that have come through Kentucky on their way to the NBA, and
I think most Kentucky fans feel the same way.
With all of that said, I would love to see Tyler Hero in a Kentucky Wildcats uniform one
more year. Why? Selfish reasons, really.
Because I find the Tyler Hero story beyond interesting.
Tyler was not a typical 5 star recruit coming to Kentucky. Out of high school, he was a
four star that originally committed to his home state team the Wisconsin Badgers.
He then de-committed.
Here is what 247 Sports had to say after Tyler signed with the wildcats.
From the moment Tyler Herro picked up a scholarship offer from Kentucky he
knew where he wanted to become a wildcat.
“I pretty much knew right way,” Herro told Scout. “I was looking at Oregon, that
sounded like a good gig. Villanova had a good pitch too, but ultimately I knew
where I wanted to go after I got that offer.”
Herro committed to the Wildcats on quickly.
So why the Cats? Herro, who decommitted from Wisconsin in mid-October,
said he quickly developed a bond with the Kentucky coaching staff.
“Just the relationship I had with Kenny Payne and the relationship I’ve built
with Cal over the past few weeks,” he said when asked why he picked Kentucky.
“Obviously what they do to get guys to the NBA,” he added. “They just expressed
that they have an opportunity for me. They think I can come in right away and
play a role in what they want to do.”
The trip to Kentucky was the only trip that Tyler Herro took following his
decommitment from the Badgers.
“It was cool,” he said of the visit. “Big Blue Nation was crazy. It was weird because
all the fans knew me and I hadn’t even committed”
Kentucky has a track record of success with incoming freshman. Herro, a 6-foot-5,
195-pound guard out of Milwaukee , Wisconsin said that certainly factored into
his decision making.
A four star recruit, Tyler was ranked as the No. 36 overall prospect and the No. 4
shooting guard in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Most people thought Tyler would be a two – four year player for the Wildcats.
WISCONSIN WENT CRAZY
Twitter blew up after Tyler committed to Kentucky.
Egg on their face, doesn’t even begin to describe it. I am not
picking on Wisconsin fans because Kentucky fans can be beyond
When Richmond, Kentucky football star Damien Harris decided to not attend
Kentucky and accepted a scholarship to Alabama, many Kentucky fans were
almost as bitter and spiteful as the Wisconsin fans.
I understand when hometown fans are disappointed when talent leaves the
state. I was disappointed that Damien didn’t sign with Kentucky.
There is no excuse for the verbal abuse some fans spew on high school kids.
Again, it is not about the fans, it is about the kids.
Some Wisconsin fans lost their minds!
The hero family woke up around 9:30 a.m. one morning and saw red—
everywhere. Red spray paint on the side yard. Red spray paint on the green
grass. Red spray paint on the tree branches, which, for good measure, were
also laced with toilet paper.
F–K B.B.N.! GO WISCONSIN! the spray paint read, on that summer day .
Then there were handwritten letters, routinely delivered to Tyler Herro’s
high school, Whitnall of Wisconsin. His coach, Travis Riesop, carefully combed
through them. Most were too vile to let Tyler, then a senior, read. One was from
a man who said he hoped Herro injured his leg the way Gordon Hayward did—a
particularly gruesome fracture.
All because Herro decommitted from Wisconsin to go to Kentucky (whose fans
make up the aforementioned Big Blue Nation).
Then the death threats began. First on Twitter and then in real life. One
afternoon, Herro was pumping gas into his tan Chevy Malibu at the BP gas
station near his home when someone approached him. The man stepped close.
Nose-to-nose close. “Walk across that street,” the man said, turning to the road.
“I hope you get hit by a truck!”
Eighteen-year-old Herro was no longer a kid, but what could he do? Laugh or
shrug or run? His car was egged, as were his family’s front door and garage.
Tomatoes were thrown at his father Chris’ Chevy truck. Tyler’s mother, Jen,
feared someone might physically harm Tyler when he went to Applebee’s with
his friends around 10 p.m. for half-price appetizers on weekends.
Fans would bring stuffed-animal snakes to games, as well as giant poster boards
with Herro’s face plastered onto a snake’s body. He was called a backstabber
and a traitor.
But he knew Kentucky was the right place for him—even though few outside
his family and circle of friends believed it.
He was a 247Sports 4-star recruit, which is great but not considered the elite
type of talent college basketball’s blue blood programs feast on. He was not a
McDonald’s All-American. He was not regarded as a one-and-done NBA prospect
as many Wildcat recruits are. Instead, fans said he would never play at Kentucky.
He’d ride the bench for two years and then transfer. Forget the NBA. He’d be just
another white boy who could only stand in the corner and shoot.
TYLER HERRO Improved more during
the season than any UK Player, ever?
After the Bahamas exhibition games, we all knew Tyler could shoot. However his defense
was bad, and his shot selection very questionable.
Here are some comments and tips from the Bleacher Report.
On his first day of practice at Kentucky, Tyler Herro looked like anyone but…Tyler Herro.
He was prancing. He was trying to slide to his right during a defensive drill and couldn’t do
it—couldn’t complete a lunge. He couldn’t keep up with anyone.
“He was one of the worst defenders we had,” Calipari says.
If a player dribbled by him, he’d try to steal the ball from behind or block the shot. But
these were not 5’8″ kids from Wisconsin. These were guys Herro’s height (6’5″) or taller,
and they had the power to dunk on him when they blew by him.
But he committed to improving on that end of the floor. “He’s absolutely engaged every
moment he’s on the court, which means you can trust him,” Calipari says. “We got some
other guys that aren’t engaged all the time. When they’re tired, they just stop. He does
He couldn’t, especially while struggling with his shot the first few games of the season.
I’m not cheating myself, he’d think. I’m always in the gym. Why can’t I make a shot?
But he was learning to play without the ball for the first time in his life, and his confidence
teetered. Calipari told him to trust his work. Trust his instincts. Know that he’s going to
be pushed. Hard.
“He wants to be coached,” says Drew Dunlop, Herro’s longtime basketball trainer,
crediting Herro’s longtime shooting coach, Andy Monfre, for helping instill that mentality. ”
He wants to get better. He’s constantly adjusting.”
That was especially so after Duke demolished Kentucky 118-84 on national TV in November.
Herro struggled to get open looks. The Blue Devils hedged hard on screens. Herro looked
uncomfortable. Indecisive. Out of rhythm.
He still had 14 points, nine boards, five assists and two blocks but was disappointed in
himself. After he talked with his team and family, he approached Fajembola. Herro
broke down crying.
“Why are you crying, bro?” Fajembola said. “It’s only the first game of the season.”
Herro measures games differently, though. Always has. Riesop used to sometimes have
to take him out of the game for 30 seconds or so in high school because he was breathing
so hard. Because he wanted it so badly.
“Every single game that Tyler played in was like do or die,” Riesop says. “It’s, I’m either
going to play my best game of my career, or it’s not gonna be good enough.”
Maybe that’s why Herro broke down in front of Fajembola after the Duke loss. “I just
felt like I let you guys down,” Herro told him.
Herro meant his family. The ones who always saw him as worthy, as capable—who
cleaned up every egged car and buried every hate-filled letter. Herro couldn’t bear
to let them down.
Especially not his dad.
Maybe Tyler’s toughness, his swagger, comes from his dad. Chris taught him to
always act like he belongs but not to forget where he comes from. You’re not special
just because you can put a ball through the hoop, Chris would tell him. There are
things out in the world that are bigger than basketball.
Basketball always seemed to be at the brink of either bonding them or breaking
them, but neither really happened. It’s just that the color of their relationship shifted.
Coach-player slowly shaded into dad-son, once Tyler realized who believed in him
and who didn’t.
Like when Tyler injured his meniscus as a junior and some friends talked crap about
him behind his back: You’re not gonna recover. You’re not gonna play college
basketball. Some of them fell away.
Or when Tyler decommitted from Wisconsin and it felt like the entire state was
When Tyler lost his final playoff game as a senior, though, the relationship deepened.
Chris found his son in the hallway. They hugged. They cried. They held each other.
“A special moment I’ll never forget in my life,” Chris says.
There was a warmth between them that had long been cooled. Because underneath
Tyler’s jersey was a son. Not a basketball player. A son who had worried he let his
team and his family down..
He continues to become more active on defense, too, recording three steals at Ole
Miss and two against Alabama.
“He’s not just a shooter,” says Rex Chapman, a retired NBA veteran and former Kentucky
star. “He’s a basketball player. He makes basketball plays. He makes plays for other people.
He’s not a perfect player, but man, he’s got a chance to be really good.”
It feels a bit surreal for his family to see his name potentially in the draft this year. It’s unclear
if Tyler will declare, but sometimes Chris and Jen think back to when Tyler first picked up a ball.
TYLER HERRO’S SEASON AT THE UNIVERSITY
TYLER HERO MIAMI HEAT
On June 20, Herro was selected by the Miami Heat
with the thirteenth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Herro was voted by his fellow rookies as the best shooter in the 2019 draft class.
He had a great Summer League Performance prior to the start
of the NBA Season.
On October 23, 2019, Herro made his debut in NBA, started in a 120–101 win over
the Memphis Grizzlies with fourteen points, eight rebounds, two steals and an assist.