Maryland’s Kevin Huerter meets with Miami Heat, then impresses rest of NBA at combine

Kevin Huerter, from Maryland, participates in the NBA draft basketball combine Thursday, May 17, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO — Kevin Huerter has opened a lot of eyes at the NBA draft combine this week.

The Maryland guard, who arrived to Chicago as a projected second-round pick, is rising up draft boards after turning in a solid performance in the combine’s first five-on-five scrimmage and producing eye-opening results in the agility and shooting drills on Thursday.

The Heat currently don’t have a pick in this year’s draft, but they were interested enough in Huerter to use one of their 20 allotted interviews at the combine on him. The Palm Beach Post confirmed the Heat also interviewed former Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown this week.

“It went well,” Huerter said of his meeting with Miami. “It wasn’t an intense environment, which is nice. It really felt like we were just having a conversation and they were just trying to get to know me.”

On Thursday, the 19-year-old made sure the rest of the NBA knew about him. Huerter, who is looking to prove he’s more than just a 3-point shooter, had the top shuttle run among the 40 players tested Thursday, was fourth in the three-quarter-court sprint, seventh in lane agility and finished 14th in maximum vertical leap at 38 inches.

This was less of a surprise, but the 6-foot-7, 194-pound sophomore also proved he’s one of the best shooters in the draft Thursday. He finished first in the spot-up right-side shooting (a perfect 100 percent), right corner NBA shooting (a perfect 100 percent), and on-the-move 15-foot shooting at 87.1 percent, while tying for third in spot-up left-side shooting.

And Huerter was also solid in the first scrimmage of the combine, finishing with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting (2-for-7 on 3-pointers), two rebounds, three assists and one turnover.

What do the Heat like about Huerter’s game?

“I would be able to space the floor, get other guys involved and that type of thing,” he said.

The Ringer projects Huerter as a second-round pick, but that was before the combine, and describes him as “a sharpshooting wing with range from deep and a feel for playmaking.”

Huerter averaged 14.8 points on 50.3 percent shooting from the field and 41.7 shooting from 3-point range to go with 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a sophomore at Maryland this past season. He has not hired an agent yet, so he has until May 30 to announce whether he will return to Maryland for next season.

But with the way Thursday went for Huerter, the NBA draft could be in his immediate future. And if he somehow lands in Miami, he won’t be upset with that.

“My favorite player has always been LeBron [James], so those four years I watched them a lot,” Huerter said. “And obviously, everybody knows Miami is Miami. It’s a vacation spot, so that’s obviously really enticing. You got to be able to handle it, but Miami is a great spot. They come from a winning culture and they’re expected to win there. That’s what you want to play for.”

[Mailbag: Are Heat even farther away than we thought they were entering playoffs?]

[How is the draft combine going for former Hurricanes guard Bruce Brown? Plus, a look at his meeting with the Heat]

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