By LARRY VAUGHT
Turning Tyler Herro into a reliable defender is one reason Kentucky became a better team the second half of the season. Auburn coach Bruce Pearl says it’s not always that hard to convince a shooter like Herro to pay more attention to defense.
“If you want to win and if you want to get paid (for playing in the NBA), those are two strong arguments,” Pearl said for a shooter becoming a better defender.
Pearl knows plenty about Herro because of his time coaching at Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He did not actively recruit Herro, who originally committed to home-state Wisconsin before flipping to UK, but friends told him plenty about the talented guard.
“I knew about him but I just thought he was out of our league just from a standpoint of that I knew how good he was and Wisconsin and Marquette were going in on him,” the Auburn coach said during the SEC Tournament last week in Nashville.
“It didn’t surprise me at all to see Kentucky go get him. He is an amazing competitor. He is big, strong and athletic. Way more talented than people give him credit for and I am really happy for his success.”
Pearl is not the least bit surprised by what Herro has done offensively.
“It’s not a surprise what he has done but he got better. John (Calipari) put him in good positions to be successful. He wasn’t as effective early. He wasn’t as bought in. He progressed through the system,” Pearl said. “The fact that he has done this doesn’t surprise me because of the talent but he grew as a player and accepted the coaching. Right now he is very, very comfortable for them and can really impact a game.”