After being selected for the United States U19 Basketball Team to compete in Greece, Tyrese Haliburton turned heads with his stylistic and unselfish play over the course of the last few weeks.
Haliburton made a roster that consisted of 2 All-SEC Freshmen Team Members, multiple 5-star recruits, and also an Oklahoma State player. The team was coached by Kansas State General Bruce Weber, whose Dad was coincidentally George Weber, of Weber Grill fame... (Maybe... Don’t look that up).
Anyways the moral of the story here is that Tyrese went absolutely bonkers. Offering up highlight after highlight while averaging 7.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, and a team-high 6.9 assists (nice). Rather than try and explain what Tyrese did I’d rather direct your attention to the below highlight reel:
Tyrese Haliburton made a believer out of me with his play in Crete at the U19 Worlds. 48 AST to just 8 TOVs in 175 MIN while shooting 12-of-14 from 2 and 10-of-18 from 3. Was all over the place defensively. Unorthodox game but positional size, shooting touch and tremendous feel. pic.twitter.com/8FzqE4EEbB— Mike Schmitz (@Mike_Schmitz) July 8, 2019
Pretty good, right?
But selfishly, you may be wondering what this may mean for next year’s question mark of an Iowa State team - I know I am. As the obvious centerpiece to next year’s team, I want to see Tyrese shoulder more of the scoring load and more or less take ownership as the best player, and I think this performance alongside some great young players shows that he’s pretty darn close to being ready. We all know about his passing and court-vision, along with his defense, but what I am most concerned about is his aggressiveness and his willingness to shoot off the dribble. Tyrese showed an uncanny knack for diving and darting into the lane to dish to last year’s army of sniper sharpshooters. He also shows an incredible talent for getting out into transition and using a series of fakes and graceful moves to drop the ball off to anyone willing to run with him.
Tyrese Haliburton out here doing this in a World Cup semifinal game. pic.twitter.com/B5IcpNlcZ0— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) July 6, 2019
But we already knew all of this from watching a full season of Haliburton prance around Hilton Coliseum. What we hadn’t seen, was this (skip to the 42 second mark):
6-5 + 19 y/o rising sophomore @CycloneMBB PG Tyrese Haliburton is making a case for himself as a top-20 prospect in the 2020 #nbadraft with his play at the @FIBA U19s in #Crete. His jumper has looked good - even off the dribble - and he brings so many little things to the table pic.twitter.com/QjM4jsJX7C— DraftExpressContent (@DXContent) July 4, 2019
Tyrese with a step-back 3? Surely that must be a fluke. After all, this was the guy who flat out refused to shoot off the dribble for pretty much all of last year. On the other hand, he was in the 91st percentile in catch-and-shoot situations, so I can’t really blame him for doing what comes most naturally to him. This is the same guy who Cyclone fans BEGGED to shoot and look for his own shot. In fact, Iowa State was 13-2 when Haliburton attempted at least 6 Field Goal Attempts last season (so keep begging).
Now skip to the 56 second mark.
Another step back. This time in transition. Frankly, I have my doubts he can make this on a consistent basis but man oh man do I still love to see it. Nothing quite seemed to put Iowa State’s offense into 5th gear like Haliburton hunting his own shot (Iowa State averaged 80.1 points in those aforementioned 15 games where he took at least 6 shots) and even if he misses that, it’s a clear indicator of the types of looks he may be hunting come November.
Here’s another clip (1:17 mark, same video) and this time it shows a confident Tyrese step into a pull up three without hesitation. Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is that he is hunting these shots in the first place, let alone doing that on a team of (essentially) high school all-stars and a few top NCAA freshman.
He finds ways to impact games without showing up on the scoring line, just look at his efficiency (which he led the team in) and +/- stats below.
And did I mention he made the All Star Five, which is not a Smash Mouth cover band but actually the All-Tournament Team? Well he did.
Haliburton will return to Ames with a gold medal around his neck and an army of scouts following his every move. With his draft stock at an all-time high and most certainly the green light to be “The Guy”, Tyrese is set to hopefully have a huge year and continue to do what he’s done best.