Tyler Herro shocked the world at the NBA’s bubble campus. In a matter of 81 days, the 6-foot-5 ‘white boy’ overwhelmed fans with the confidence and swag he possesses and the respect he deserves.
Clutch performances against the Milwaukee Bucks – 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists in Game 6 – and Boston Celtics – 37 points in Game 6 – were far from improbable. In the eyes of many, nobody at the age of 20 should be doing those things.
Herro was a man amongst boys.
The Miami Heat guard arguably came from nowhere. Although he did have respectable performances pre-COVID-19, an ankle injury that kept him out for 15 games dwindled his rookie campaign. Instead of allowing that to linger him, he used that time off, including the league’s hiatus, to move his skill set to a whole other dimension.
Herro ultimately concluded his first postseason run becoming the only rookie in history to record 20-straight games scoring in the double digits. Along with that, the No. 14 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft broke playoff records for the most three-pointers by a rookie in the postseason (46) and most three-pointers by a rookie in the Finals (11).
His heroic play got him to sixth all-time in playoff points for a rookie (335) and ninth all-time in playoff assists for a rookie (77). He did all of that as the first player born in the 2000s to touch the court in a Finals series.
Pretty crazy, huh?
It wasn’t so much so for one specific person. He saw Herro grow throughout the hiatus into a player many have yet to face.
Meet Andrew Moran: a well-respected NBA skills trainer with a plethora of professional clientele, ranging from Dallas’ Tim Hardaway Jr. to incoming rookies James Wiseman and Cole Anthony. He’s also the founder and owner of Miami Hoop School, established in 2012, one of the better skills training facilities in the 305.
Aside from that, he’s the head coach for Christopher Columbus’ Boys’ Varsity basketball team, taking over the spot in 2019. With that job on a standstill due to the pandemic, Moran focused more time on helping the pros better their craft in preparation for the bubble.
That plan included Herro.
Countless hours later, and both Moran and Herro are being recognized for what they merit.
Here’s what the established skills trainer told 305 Sports on Herro:
Q: Can you give a backstory on how you met and started training Tyler?
Moran: I was training James Wiseman and they’re in the same agency, Excel Sports. Tyler was looking for a place to workout and someone to workout with. That’s really how we connected. That’s really how I’ve done well in this business. People giving me good recommendations, just the relationships that I’ve built. It wasn’t anything like he sought me out or looked for me, somebody recommended me, came the first time, and he enjoyed it. We created a plan and continued working as long as we could through the period of pandemic time.
Q: What stood out from his character and his energy?
Moran: He has something about him that when he walks in the gym it’s not a cocky ‘I’m better than everyone else’ [mentality], it’s just that ‘I’m gonna do what I do and it doesn’t matter who’s gonna be in front of me. I’m gonna play my game and I’m gonna do it well and I’m gonna continue to do it.’ And he brings that same energy into the workout. I know I posted something where he works out like he’s still trying to get that college scholarship. He comes everyday with energy, he brings it even if it’s his second workout of the day, he’s pushing through. He’s gonna be an All-Star in this league, we just watch him grow and watch him work.
He really works. I’ve never seen someone who just really wants to be in the gym. We were in the gym two times. He would be with the Heat guys and we’d go in the gym later in the day. Sometimes we went twice a day and he went three times a day. Obviously, every workout is not the same, you don’t want to wear him out, but as you can see he’s been ready to play, he was in shape, he kept his rhythm and then he just improved in areas because of the work he put in.
Q: How did he come to you in terms of conditioning and skills? What did you guys work on the most?
Moran: In terms of conditioning, he was a little bit out of shape when he first came just because he hadn’t done anything for a couple of weeks because of the situation. But, we worked so much that he got his wind back pretty quickly. We focused on really getting to the rim. He did an excellent job during the regular season finding his shot, he can get his shot almost wherever he wants it. We wanted to work on really getting to the rim and finishing around the rim. If you noticed, he’s had some pretty tough finishes around the rim, he’s got a great left hand finish, but he just worked on really finding different spots in the backboard and having a soft touch. We really focused on his downhills, especially out of the ball screen, and as you can see, being a great passer so he’s able to be a playmaker as well. He finds guys, he knows where they’re gonna be. He’s an unselfish player.
Q: How does Tyler take your coaching tips and criticism?
Moran: I think he takes them well because he wants to be great. If there’s something he needs to improve on he wants to attack it, if there’s things that he’s really good at he wants to become better at it. For him, I don’t know what his limit is but it’s really fun and encouraging to workout with him because of his drive and his love for the game. He loves basketball.
Q: Do you think his love for basketball is the reason he fits so well in the Heat culture? Did he come into the league with that passion or did it develop over time?
Moran: I think he’s had his work ethic since growing up. Obviously, the Heat culture is all about work and the work they put in. They do an excellent job of developing players. We’ve seen that throughout the years, especially even [Erik] Spoelstra before he even became the head coach. You hear stories of all the work he was doing with a lot of guys on the team. You got to credit them for the amount of individual work that they put in during the offseason and the way they put it together. You could see it work, maybe even through times that the Heat weren’t as successful throughout the years. You see people improving and a lot of guys have come through the Miami Heat and maybe, they didn’t stay as long as they wanted but they did well on other teams because of the work that they put in.
Q: What NBA player would you compare Tyler to?
Moran: There’s the obvious comparison that everyone does with [Devin] Booker. Some of the guys that he likes and we’re gonna work on during this upcoming offseason include CJ McCollum in the pick and roll. I think he can do well with him, I think CJ and him have a lot of similarities in terms of their floaters and the way they get to the rim. I also like the way [Herro] moves off the ball like Bradley Beal. Of those three guys would be the one I compare him to the most.
Q: Do you think he’s always had that point guard mentality in his arsenal or did it come through work in the quarantine?
Moran: I think he’s always had that. In high school, he was the point guard. Obviously at Kentucky, maybe he didn’t play as much point guard, but you get to a place and sometimes you got to fill a position on the team just for the sake of the success of the team. I think a lot of people thought he was only a shooter at Kentucky because that’s kind of what his role was there. And even still, if you watch film he put it on the floor more than you would know. Sometimes, and I think it’s a testament to what type of player he is, he was able to play the role they want him to do and he does it, and he does a very good job of it. Even though he has more that he can offer, at the moment that’s what they had asked him to do. I think he does whatever it takes to win. You could tell he’s an unselfish player just by what he said the other day: “I more want to do it for Jimmy, though. He has been [in the Eastern Conference Finals] before and he hasn’t got to the Finals.”
He’s got the complete package, and I think we’re just seeing the beginning of it.
Q: Where do you see Tyler in 5-10 years?
Moran: He’s gonna be an All-Star in this game. That’s not an easy task to do, obviously you could tell just throughout this year. You had guys like Bradley Beal who were doing very well and still didn’t make it. I hope the Heat keep him around for a long time and he can be an integral part to the Heat. Especially as he gets stronger. He just started in this league. I see him doing really well, becoming a really big integral part for what the Heat are gonna be going forward.