SMU assistant coach K.T. Turner called Herard yesterday and the relationship is going strong.
“K.T. has done a good job with the right amount of touches with us,” Herard’s guardian Derrick Shelby said. “SMU is close to home, great academics, great school, great program, great coaching staff. We’ll definitely be looking at SMU.”
Turner’s beginning to take on an even bigger role on the recruiting trail and his ability to relate to kids is a big reason why.
“I’ve known K.T. a while so he’s a friend. He’s someone I like and he’s a good guy. He’s a cool guy. He’s a young coach and he can relate to the younger kids. The kids like him. He’s like one of the fellas so he’s done a good job so far.”
While Shelby and Herard haven’t talked with SMU Head Coach Larry Brown since an unofficial visit to SMU at the end of the summer, Herard has his eye on SMU.
“I think he definitely wants to take a close look at SMU,” Shelby said. “Schnider is a really quiet person so he doesn’t come in talking about colleges and all that. He’s really a private, quiet type of kid, but I know there’s interest there it’s just a matter of seeing how that builds over the next few months.”
Shelby and Herard recently took in Kansas’ “Late Night in the Phog,” and that left a great impression on the 6-10, 240 pound center.
“Well he liked that trip. He’s never been to anything like that,” Shelby said. “There’s no reason to not like that.”
Herard hasn’t gone on any other visits because he’s been working on his game for his junior year.
“He’s back at it now on the grind and getting his work done to get prepared for the season,” Shelby said. “He’s ready to go. He’s looking forward to playing and showing everyone that he can play and lead his team to another state championship.”
“He’s been taking it slow and I think that things are starting to pick up and we’ll start to narrow down whether he wants to go here or here or there. We’re going to have to do some unofficials with him. He’s going to go through the process I think and take his time.”
A big development has been Herard’s game on the defensive end and for only having a few years of basketball under his belt, that’s a big deal.
“He is developing as a better defensive player. He’s being more active on the defensive end and he’s strong as hell so he’s a problem,” Shelby said. “He’s taking a little bit more pride in making stops and not so much about getting in foul trouble.”
For an SMU squad that makes its living as one of the best defensive teams in the country, that could help sway Herard’s decision.
“Defense is an attitude. You got to want to stop somebody. It doesn’t take talent to play hard,” Shelby said. “That’s kind of what I’ve preached to the boys. The good lord blessed you with size and athleticism you got to keep that work ethic night in and night out.”
Herard could develop into a five-star prospect if that aspect of his game continues to grow.
At the time, Herard doesn’t have any scheduled trips, but Shelby says they’ll be around Moody Coliseum since they’re so close, but nothing has been nailed down.
“We haven’t even really looked. They’ve got a busy travel schedule this year,” Shelby said. “They’re going to Las Vegas and California. We’ll probably look at after the first of the year as to who we can go check out that’s close by.”
SMU was in the running for another Prestonwood center, D’Jery Baptiste, who Shelby is also a guardian to. The 2015 big man recently committed to Vanderbilt.
“That was a good decision for him (Baptiste) and he’s an academic kid. It felt right. He visited there and Connecticut and those were his top two schools,” Shelby said. “He felt comfortable there. I challenged his decision very hard and he stayed firm.”
Herard and Baptiste are close, but that won’t be a deciding factor for Herard. Herard is much more focused on what he and Baptiste can do together at Prestonwood.
“Right now, he’s just focused on the season and playing and seeing what him and D’Jery can do together. They’ve got a really tough schedule.”
The Prestonwood is rated at #23 in the country right now in the preseason. Herard is rated as a four-star center and the #21 center in the country by Scout while maintaining a 3.2 GPA. The biggest difference is in his attitude.
”He’s really maturing and that’s great to see. He’s taking this thing really serious and the maturity level for this kid has gone way up.”
Herard at the NBPA Top 100 Camp