Plenty of Flash, Plenty of Substance

Jordan McCabe and Tyler Herro are among the players to keep an eye out for in the Class of 2018.
by April 08, 2016

The world first met Jordan McCabe when he was 12 putting on dribbling exhibitions on ESPN (see below), and as a correspondent for the Ellen Show (see below) at the 2011 NBA All Star Weekend.

More recently, hoop junkies who scour the internet for mixtapes were re-introduced to who Ballislife dubbed ‘the next White Chocolate,’ in December of 2014:

However, it is imperative that you understand the Kaukauna, Wisconsin-native and class of 2018 point guard is no side-show and far from a gimmick.

Fresh off leading Kaukauna to a Division II (Wisconsin’s second largest classification) state championship, and earning AP first team All-State honors as a sophomore, the 5’11 McCabe took the court with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors this past weekend at the NY2LA Sports Swish ‘N Dish to kick off the club circuit.

His running mate in the backcourt, Tyler Herro, is also coming off a successful sophomore high school campaign in which the 6’4 combo guard earned AP fourth team All-State accolades while leading Whitnall High School to the DII state semifinals. Though Herro may not have any Youtube videos to amass over a million views, he is primed to become a well-known name amongst college recruiting fans.

Herro’s length as a guard and versatile offensive skill-set have already gotten him scholarship offers from Wisconsin, DePaul, Marquette, Creighton, Sam Houston State, UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee. High major programs from all over the country will be tracking his play during the club season, with the first live evaluation period beginning April 15th.

The odds that their opponents at club events will have at least heard of McCabe and Herro are high, but regardless of reason, the duo feeds of the intense competition.

“That stuff definitely plays a role, but as a competitor I don’t really care who steps on the court in front of me because I’m going to attack them just as hard as they attack me,” McCabe said.

“It makes us hungrier,” Herro said. “Everyone starting to know who we are is making us want to be a lot better.”

McCabe has already picked up offers from DePaul, West Virginia, Missouri, UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee, but said after the summer he will reassess any type of timeline about a college decision.

In the immediate future, he is continuing to develop himself into an all-around player. After the Playground Warriors bowed out in the Swish ‘N Dish quarterfinals to 16U runner-up All Ohio Red, McCabe had more to keep him in the gym.

“I still need to get better at coming off ball screens and reading those better,” McCabe said. “(Against All Ohio Red) I didn’t do that well enough. So I’ve got to sharpen that up. Then defensively I guess the question is if I’m laterally quick enough to play at the next level. You can see all these people on Twitter saying I’m not big or quick enough, or I won’t be able to defend at the next level. But they don’t see the hours I put in at the gym, and that’s definitely something I’m focusing on over the next two years.”

The majority of people on Twitter, let alone a 16-year-old, don’t have to deal with strangers actively going out of their way to send a disparaging remark to them. McCabe has used that ridiculous nastiness to give him a little extra motivation to prove that when all is said and done the Youtube videos, hyperbolic player comparisons and TV appearances are secondary to the fact he is one of the top point guard prospects in the class of 2018.

“I used to read the Youtube (comments),” McCabe said. “Now it’s just more Twitter stuff. It’s funny because it gives people an outlet to say whatever they want behind a screen. That’s great because it just lights a fire under me.”

McCabe showed off his flashy handle and money shooting stroke from distance at the Swish ‘N Dish, but also was effective moving the ball and setting up teammates in several pick-and-roll sets.

As he continues to polish, and expand, his game he said there is one aspect he embraces more than crushing a defenders ankles for a mixtape highlight.

“More important than anything is having vision,” McCabe said. “Court vision is really big for me, and one of my biggest attributes that I enjoy the most. Getting everybody involved is probably the best part of basketball. Coming up watching stuff from guys like (John) Stockton and (Steve) Nash who really highlighted that part of the game was a big thing for me and my game as well.”

Herro is also focused on expanding his game, and parlaying his breakout sophomore season into a big time showing on the club circuit.

“It showed me that I’m one of those top tier players now, and that I really improved in the offseason last year. Now I just want to make a bigger jump next season,” Herro said. “I’m improving on my defensive ability. I identified that I needed to get stronger and better on D during the high school season.”

College coaches will undoubtedly be tracking the Wisconsin Playground Warriors due to the fact the squad features DI-caliber players on the wing as well as in the post to go with McCabe and Herro in the backcourt.

And while fans at club events, or even players resting in between games, may take the chance to check out McCabe and Herro because of buzz they’ve read online, they will also undoubtedly come away realizing their games are the real deal.