|Position:||PF||Team/Class:||UT Arlington (Sr.)|
|Dom Hand:||Right||Stats:||Click here|
Most hoops fans have probably never heard of him, but Kevin Hervey has been one of the best players in college basketball since 2015. Such is life in the Sun Belt Conference. Hervey is arguably the most accomplished player in UT Arlington basketball history, leaving the program as the all-time career leader in total rebounds and double-doubles, second all-time in points scored, and fifth all-time in 3-point field goals made. Over the past three seasons, he averaged no worse than 17.1 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game, and his lowest PER over that span was 22.7. This season, Hervey set career-highs for points per game (20.5 – 36th in the nation), free-throw percentage (80.7) and steals (1.2), and based on RealGM’s FIC rating, he ranked 42nd in the country for overall productivity.
The level of competition that Hervey regularly faced was certainly not on par with those who play in conferences like the Big 12, and that has to be considered when evaluating his stats. However, he fared well in UTA’s three toughest non-conference games this past season, averaging 23.7 points and 8.7 rebounds against BYU, Alabama, and Creighton. No matter the competition, it is clear that he is a volume shooter (16.5 FGA per game), who is not very efficient (44.6 FG%), and he commits a high number of turnovers (2.7 per game).
Hervey is a versatile offensive player, capable of scoring in a variety of ways. He played at the four spot for the Mavericks, and the combination of his size, length, and perimeter shooting created a lot of mismatches. He is, however, not overly athletic, and at 230 pounds, he appears to be a tad on the heavy side for an NBA prospect.
In the half court, Hervey spends much more time on the perimeter, typically off the ball, than he does in the post. And he is definitely more of a jump shooter than a driver, with 54% of his half-court shots this season being jumpers, and 71% of those being 3-point attempts. He has deep range and a nice-looking shot, with a fairly quick release. He doesn’t get a lot of lift off the ground on his jumpers, but that is usually not a problem because of his height. Hervey is equally effective spotting up or pulling up off the bounce, and when tightly guarded, he finds various ways to get off his shot (stepbacks, fadeaways, slide steps, …).
Overall as a jump shooter, Hervey is solid, averaging .93 points per shot (51st percentile). However, his efficiency is a concern – mainly, he takes too many 3s. His 3-point percentage didn’t improve much over his college career, hovering around 33 percent, and this season, he launched 6.9 three-pointers per game. Also, by shooting so many deep jumpers, his free-throw opportunities (4.2 per game) were relatively low for a high-scoring big man.
While Hervey is generally effective taking a few dribbles and pulling up for a jumper, he is not the type of player who can consistently beat his man off the bounce and drive all the way to the basket. He’s not explosive with the ball in his hands, is basically a straight-line driver, and in traffic, his handle can be shaky. He especially struggles with turnovers when handling the ball in pick-and-roll situations or in transition.
This past season, less than 12 percent of Hervey’s possessions came in post-up situations, but he produced solid numbers when he was there, averaging .89 points per possession, with a FG% of 44.8. Similar to his perimeter game, he likes to shoot jumpers on the block, such as turnaround fadeaways and stepbacks. He is also a threat to put the ball on the floor and score with runners. And he will throw in occasional hook shots and drop steps.
Hervey was used even less in the pick the roll (7.7% of his possessions this season), but he was very effective in those situations, especially when shooting jumpers. He averaged 1.2 points in pick-and-pop possessions this season, which ranked in the 86th percentile.
As a passer, Hervey can make some very impressive plays, but he tends to be too tricky at times and throws the ball away. His overall assist-to-turnover ratio this past season (.81) was not inspiring. He fared better as a passer in the half court than in transition, and he was extremely effective passing out of double teams, with those plays producing an average of 1.5 points.
Hervey was a prolific rebounder at UTA, and his 8.6 total boards per game ranked 63rd in the country this past season. His girth and length proved to be a big advantage in the Sun Belt, but he is not an overly physical or aggressive rebounder. He is more effective on the defensive glass, but his 30 putbacks put him among the nation’s leaders this season. It should be noted that his putback FG percentage (61.2) and his overall FG percentage at the rim (65.2) were good, but not stellar – he misses his share of bunnies because he lacks explosiveness off the ground.
The overall numbers say that Hervey is an exceptional defender. His .66 points allowed per possession ranked in the 93rd percentile this season. The eye test tells a different story, however. He doesn’t always play with a lot of energy on the defensive side. At times, he plays as if he has four fouls even when doesn’t, not bothering to stop the ball when he has the chance. Sometimes he fails to close out with any urgency, and he often takes his time getting down the court, which proves costly to his team. When dialed in this season, he showed that he could one-on-one defend the best that the Sun Belt had to offer, including guards. However, he doesn’t have great anticipation and/or is slow to change direction, so he often struggles to deal with shifty cutters and ball handlers who use screens (or even threaten to use screens). His length helps him come up with a fair number of steals (1.2 per game), and that same length can be very bothersome to opposing shooters, but for his size, he is not much of a shot blocker (.6 per game).
Hervey also has medical concerns. He suffered two torn ACLs, one in high school and another in January of 2016. There were some conflicting reports about why he started coming off the bench at the end of this past season. Some reports said that his reserve role was due to residual knee pain, while other reports stated that Hervey simply preferred coming off the bench. His minutes didn’t really suffer over that six-game span, but a source told me that he felt that Hervey was not 100 percent.
Hervey is one of a dozen or so mid-major prospects who have a legitimate chance to be drafted this year. Right now, he is a borderline second rounder. He has good size and length, can shoot and rebound, and shows potential as a defender. He definitely has promise as a stretch four and a pick-and-pop option. On the downside, he is not a great ball handler, and is not yet a knockdown shooter. He also lacks athleticism, which affects his ability to make plays on both ends of the floor. Some weight redistribution and more muscle would clearly help his overall game. And there are concerns about his inconsistent effort and health – these two factors may be related, though one source told me that Hervey is the type of player who needs to be pushed. Overall, there seems to be too many red flags for Hervey to be drafted, especially since he is not one of the younger prospects. However, if NBA doctors give him a clean bill of health, and he has impressive workouts, slipping into the second round is not out of the question.
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements: Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports and RealGM, and occasionally from Hoop-Math.com. The photos were courtesy of the UT Arlington Athletic Department. Some of the background information included came from a recent article in the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram.