Maryland sophomore guard Kevin Huerter sat out Friday’s scrimmage at the NBA draft combine in Chicago when an old injury — a torn ligament in the right pinkie of his shooting hand — flared up.
The injury, which Huerter suffered during a win at Northwestern in late February, had been disclosed to NBA scouts and executives before the combine, his father, Tom, said Friday afternoon.
The younger Huerter, who declared for the 2018 NBA draft but has yet to sign with an agent, had an impressive first-day performance Thursday despite the injury, which is at the base of the finger.
Though he did not shoot the ball well during his team’s loss, finishing 3-for-9 from the field and 2-for-7 on 3-pointers, the 6-foot-7 Huerter was widely praised on social media for his textbook form, his overall floor game and basketball IQ.
Despite the injury, which hampered his shooting late in the season for the Terps, Huerter was one of the top shooters in drills at the combine. He placed first or second in three different categories.
Huerter and Arizona’s Rawle Alkins hit 100 percent of their right break shooting (taking the ball and a dribble then moving to the right). Huerter and SMU’s Shake Milton hit 100 percent of their shots from the NBA right corner.
Huerter, whose 87.1 percent shooting from 15 feet on the move was nearly 8 percentage points better than Alkins among the players tested Thursday, wound up second overall after Purdue’s Carsen Edwards hit 88 percent in the drill Friday.
Known more for his shooting than his defense or athleticism during his two years at Maryland — though he was one of the team’s better perimeter defenders and showed his leaping ability with a game-saving block against Georgetown as a freshman — Huerter performed well in those areas in Chicago.
Huerter wound up tied for third in the shuttle run overall after his time of 2.96 seconds was tied by Alkins and passed Friday by Syracuse’s Tyus Battle (2.86 seconds) and Miami’s Lonnie Walker (2.87 seconds).
Huerter’s lane agility time of 10.89 seconds was ninth amond the 60 players tested. His 38-inch maximum vertical leap tied for 16th and standing vertical leap of 31 inches tied for 17th. Huerter’s time for sprinting three-fourths the length of the court of 3.09 seconds tied for for sixth with Nevada’s Cody Martin.
Huerter’s performance in Chicago certainly helped put him more in the conversation about being a potential first-round pick in June’s draft. Huerter, who along with Maryland teammate Bruno Fernando has until May 30 to decide whether to return to school, has a workout scheduled with the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
Tom Huerter said that his 19-year-old son has a few more private workouts scheduled, but was unsure whether or not the injury will impact those in the works and others that could potentially come up.
The younger Huerter is scheduled to fly home to upstate New York to meet with his family May 28 before making his decision.
“He’s not going to be coerced into anything,” said the elder Huerter, who played college basketball at Siena. “He’s smart enough to know that.”
One thing the injury might affect is how many hands Huerter shakes in the next few weeks.
“He said, ‘Dad, the worst thing that happened [in Chicago] was shaking about 200 hands,’ ” Tom Huerter said. “That aggravated it.”