Before Talen Horton-Tucker became an NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and gained the following that he has now, he was teammates with Tyrese Haliburton, the No. 12 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, at Iowa State.
Horton-Tucker and Haliburton were only teammates for one season, but they’ve known each other since they were 12 years old because they played in the same AAU circuit. Horton-Tucker grew up in Chicago, while Haliburton was born and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
For that reason, Haliburton knows Horton-Tucker’s game as well as anyone, and in the most episode of “The Old Man and the Three” podcast with JJ Redick, Haliburton said his former Iowa State teammate is even more impressive than we think:
“It’s not surprising by any means, what he does on a nightly basis because that’s just literally who he’s been for as long as I’ve known him. So it’s like, what I see is not a surprise, but there are some people who are, like, going nuts about what he does and I see it and I’m just like ‘there’s even more that we have yet to see.’
“I think what people don’t realize is Talen is the same age as the rookies. Because we’re the class of 2018, but he’s a year younger, so really he should have been a freshman last year and this should have been his first year. People don’t understand how young he really is and what he really can bring to L.A. I think obviously they’re obviously a championship team, coming off of a ring so they have a lot of pieces, but Talen’s a guy that’s ready for his opportunity and what we see: trust me, there’s a lot more to it.”
Haliburton hasn’t been too shabby himself. In 12 games with the Sacramento Kings, Haliburton has averaged 11. points per game on 51.6% shooting from the field and 51% shooting from 3-point range. He’s ranked fourth among rookies in points per game, second in assists per game and fifth in steals per game.
Haliburton may have a clearer path to stardom than Horton-Tucker does at this point in his career because of his role with the Kings, but don’t be surprised if both of them are among the best guards in the league one day. Like Haliburton said: there’s even more that we’ve yet to see from Horton-Tucker.