There was a time when Tyler Herro was an afterthought. That was when he was good enough to make his high school team as a freshman, but left to select from numerical leftovers.
“I only had two choices,” Herro said amid the four-game Miami Heat trip that concludes Saturday night against the Milwaukee Bucks. “It was like 14 and 52. So I had two numbers to choose between, and I chose 14. Because I was a freshman, I had to pick last.”
And was 14 years old at the time.
From those humble numeric roots, Friday was reserved for No. 14 going to the rafters at Whitnall High School in Greenfield, Wis., a suburb just southwest of Milwaukee city limits.
“It’s something I’ve dreamed of,” Herro said. “Having my jersey retired at my high school is a big deal for everybody. It’s exciting to go home and watch my brothers play. Catching a game, that’s most exciting.”
A four-star recruit, Herro initially committed to Wisconsin as a junior, winning over fans within his home state. As a senior, though, after a visit from John Calipari, he switched his commitment to Kentucky, where he played a single season before being selected by the Heat at No. 13 in 2019.
Now it could be argued that the pressure now switches to his brothers, which drew a smile from the Heat guard. Austin is a senior at Whitnall, Myles a sophomore.
“That’s for them to work through,” said Herro, who is coming off a 25-point performance in Thursday night’s 106-104 loss to the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. “This is just a good thing for me, my family and my whole community.”
Before Herro led his team back in 2016, Whitnall had not been to the Wisconsin state tournament since 2004. He averaged 32.9 points as a senior.
Herro, 23, said it was meaningful to have the Heat at his side in support, just as they were when Max Strus’ number was retired at DePaul last season and, more recently, Udonis Haslem’s number retired at Miami High.
“I mean we’re a close group,” Herro said. “We’ve supported each other in different ways, whether it’s UD’s jersey or Max’s. There’s different things that we’ve all supported each other for, which is encouraging, knowing that we have a good group of guys that all support and like one another.”
Strus said having teammates alongside makes such moments more meaningful.
“It’s special,” he said. “It just shows you how close we are off the court. No matter what’s going on in here, we’re always there for each other outside of it and understanding that those are big moments and times in our career where it makes it more special when your teammates are there and show the care for you and the love for you.
“For me, that’s how I’ve always been and we have a guy who leads by example, in UD. He’s at everything. So we just want to be like him, and that’s how you should be as a professional and care for your teammate and your brothers.”
Injected into the rotation with rookie center Orlando Robinson sidelined by a fractured thumb, Haslem said he believes he can reestablish a rhythm, even at 42.
“It’s next man up right here,” Haslem said. “That’s the mentality that I preach. So if I’m going to preach that to the guys, then I also have to embody that. When my number’s called, I have to step up.”
Haslem closed Thursday’s loss scoreless on 0-for-2 shooting with two rebounds in his 10:23.
“I’ll get better. I’ll get better with time,” Haslem said. “I’m healthy now, which is good. I had a little Achilles issue earlier in the season that was from last year. And the next step is just to get comfortable.”
It was Haslem’s first appearance since Dec. 15 against the Houston Rockets, and just his sixth game of the season, having played 37 total minutes entering Thursday.
Haslem was utilized over Dewayne Dedmon, who has not played since he was suspended one game by the Heat for conduct detrimental to the team after words with Spoelstra during the Jan. 10 home victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“I actually intended on playing both of them,” Spoelstra said, “but since it was Heat and Knicks, it was just very fitting that I played UD. And he gave us some good minutes.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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