HALFMOON — A few days back, Tom Huerter and Erin Huerter disagreed about what their son Kevin Huerter was about to decide about his future.
Dad said the 19-year-old was going back to the University of Maryland for his junior year.
Mom said the former Shenendehowa High School star was going to stick things out with the NBA draft process.
And . . .
Mom was right.
“Exactly,” Tom Huerter said Wednesday evening with a laugh. “Always.”
Early Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Huerter officially announced his intention to stay in the NBA draft and hire an agent. Huerter had declared for the draft more than a month ago, but had through Wednesday to decide if he wanted to withdraw from the draft and go back to Maryland.
“I waited last minute because I truly didn’t know what I was going to do,” Huerter said via an Instagram post. “I love College Park and playing for Coach Turgeon and everything else that comes with being a student at Maryland. But, I will be keeping my name in the draft, with the intent to hire an agent.”
— Kevin Huerter (@KevinHuerter) May 30, 2018
Mentally, Huerter said he started his NBA draft process like nearly everyone else around him.
“When I first declared, it was just to go through the process, find stuff out and then get back to Maryland,” Huerter said Wednesday evening. “Honestly, it wasn’t a thought in my mind that I’d be staying in the draft.”
But that all started to change a couple weeks ago after Huerter starred at the NBA draft combine in Chicago, interviewing well and performing exceptionally in a variety of drills and scrimmage sessions. Quickly, Huerter saw his stock rise from being considered a potential second-round pick in this year’s draft to a likely first-round selection.
“All the feedback, it was so positive,” Erin Huerter said. “I just thought he’d put himself in position where it was too hard to say ‘No’ to it anymore.”
“She,” Tom Huerter said, “knew it was the right thing for him.”
Last night Kevin played 1 on 1 with his sisters. Solidifying that he is still a 19 yr old boy, in so many ways. We woke not knowing if he changed his mind, again. So proud of Kevin and the way he has handled this process. Thank You Md, Thank you Shen! Always Rep CP! pic.twitter.com/CxH8rPyWQ4
— Tom Huerter (@THuerter) May 30, 2018
Kevin Huerter, though, took a bit longer to be convinced. For the last couple weeks, Huerter said he changed his mind about the decision on a daily basis. Huerter, who led Shenendehowa to a Class AA state championship in 2015 and swept New York’s player of the year awards in 2016 as a high school senior, sought advice from a number of people around him.
Some said go back to Maryland.
Others said to take his shot at earning the guaranteed millions of dollars that come with a first-round selection.
Most told him he was in an enviable position where he couldn’t make a bad decision.
“Those people,” Huerter said with a smile, “really didn’t help me out.”
Huerter finalized his decision to stay eligible for this year’s NBA draft Tuesday after spending the day with his mother. When he woke up Wednesday without second-guessing that decision, Huerter felt comfortable announcing his intention with the knowledge he would have no regrets.
“I think [Tuesday] was the first time he felt comfortable with where he was mentally with it,” Tom Huerter said, “but we wanted him to sleep on it to make sure he felt the same way the next day.”
While Kevin Huerter raised his draft profile with his performance at the draft combine, and in workouts for the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, the reason for his appeal to NBA franchises isn’t hard to figure out. Huerter is 6-foot-7, has the ability to play multiple positions and shoots it from 3-point territory as good as any player in this year’s draft class.
Huerter is coming off a college season in which he averaged 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game for the Terrapins. Huerter shot 50.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from 3-point territory.
For his Maryland career, Huerter averaged 12.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assist per game in 65 games. Twice during his college career — including once, memorably, in a game at Syracuse — Huerter made seven 3-pointers in a single game. Huerter’s 138 3-point makes rank No. 12 all-time in program history for Maryland.
This year’s NBA draft takes place June 21 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Tom Huerter said his son plans to sign with agent Mark Bartelstein of Priority Sports & Entertainment, and that the Huerter family received enough assurance from NBA teams to believe Kevin Huerter would not slide to the second round if he stayed in the draft.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback that warranted Kevin believing he should take the chance on it this year,” Tom Huerter said.
In each of the last two summers, Kevin Huerter has played in international tournaments for USA Basketball. Kevin Huerter’s brother Thomas Huerter is a rising junior member of the Siena College men’s basketball program, for which father Tom Huerter played from 1987 to 1991.
Thank you @KevinHuerter and best of luck in the NBA Draft!
#RedMamba || #FearTheTurtle
?: https://t.co/WyCpVVukv5 pic.twitter.com/22sP67Tvcb
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) May 30, 2018
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, in a statement released through the school, wished Kevin Huerter well as he takes the next step in his basketball career.
“Kevin has made a significant impact on our program during his two seasons in College Park,” Turgeon said. “He has worked extremely hard to put himself in this position to be drafted by a NBA franchise. Kevin is an outstanding young man who comes from a great family and has a bright future ahead of him. This was a difficult decision for both Kevin and his family knowing how much he loved Maryland and enjoyed college. However, Kevin took his time and gathered the necessary feedback provided by NBA teams to make the best decision. We’re excited for Kevin as he pursues this next step in his career.”
In the days ahead, Huerter said he needs to return to College Park to pack up his belongings before heading back to his parents’ home. He expects to participate in at least a few more workouts for teams and is excited for the weeks ahead now that his decision has been made.
“This is just something I couldn’t pass up,” Huerter said.
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.
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