Shortly after the announcement last month that Tyler Herro was no longer committed to Wisconsin, speculation started to focus on Kentucky as a possible landing spot for the star basketball recruit.
The Wildcats were looking to add to their backcourt for next season.
Herro — a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Milwaukee — was looking for a “blueblood” program to call home.
It was a perfect fit.
“When I opened up my recruitment, I pretty much knew that a blueblood was where I wanted to go,” Herro said Tuesday at his announcement ceremony. “Kentucky was on my mind for a while, and that’s why I committed without taking any other visits.
“Kentucky is where I want to be.”
Kentucky, it turns out, is where he will be.
Herro officially signed with the Wildcats on Tuesday, one day before the end of the early signing period and two days after completing his official visit to Lexington. It was the only recruiting trip he took after backing out of his commitment to the home-state Badgers this fall.
He had been committed to Wisconsin for more than a year.
“It was tough,” Herro said Tuesday. “I guess you could say I’m turning my back on the state, but I had to make the decision that was best for me. And that’s what I did.”
Herro is the No. 36 overall prospect in the class of 2018, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He averaged 23.9 points per game and shot 39 percent from three-point range last season. Over the summer, he averaged 14.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game on the highly competitive Nike circuit.
Billed as a lights-out shooter, Herro got a visit from John Calipari a couple of weeks after he announced that he was re-opening his recruitment. Calipari extended a UK scholarship offer during that trip, and they planned for Herro to visit Lexington this past weekend.
Herro tweeted Sunday night — the final day of his official visit to UK — that he was ready to make a college decision. It was clear the Cats would be the choice.
Kentucky is getting a player who can score from all over the court, and Scout.com national analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader that Herro should be able to make an immediate impact for the Wildcats next season.
“From a scoring standpoint, I definitely think he can,” Daniels said. “This is a kid who can really make shots. … He’s a very good shooter, but he’s not just a shooter. He’s crafty with the ball. He’s creative. He can get to mid-range and make shots. He shoots the ball well on the move. He’s an instant contributor.”
Herro joins five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley and five-star wing Keldon Johnson, who committed to UK on Saturday, as the third signee in the Wildcats’ 2018 class. That trio should help Kentucky have one of the best backcourts in the country next season.
Freshman point guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — both former five-star recruits — could be back for another season with the Cats next year. Four-star shooting guard Jemarl Baker is sitting out the first part of his freshman campaign with an injury, and he’s also expected to be back at Kentucky next season.
Quickley will bring another highly talented point guard into the mix. Johnson — a 6-6 prospect who can defend multiple positions on the perimeter — is a versatile, athletic scorer who plays with high energy and excels at getting to the basket.
Herro — also a capable perimeter defender — should provide an all-around offensive game highlighted by that ability to shoot it from outside. With the bunch he’ll be playing alongside next season, he should get plenty of opportunities from deep.
“Any time you can have good spacing and have a team full of drivers and slashers, it’s going to be able to get open looks for a guy who can make shots,” Daniels said. “And Tyler is a very good shooter.”
Herro is also a Kentucky basketball player that fans are likely to get know for more than a few months. In this in-and-out, one-and-done culture that has permeated UK’s program over the past few years, Herro seems destined to take a different route.
“When you think of Kentucky, you think of a one-and-done school — everybody who goes there has to be a one-and-done,” he said. “But, talking with the coaches, they’re not rushing anyone to get out.”