Tyler Ulis is the latest player to enter Kentucky with the hype of ‘John Calipari point guard recruit’ attached to his name. That worked out well for the likes of Derrick Rose, John Wall, Tyreke Evans and Brandin Knight, but the last two lead guards that Coach Cal has brought in — Ryan Harrow and Andrew Harrison — failed to live up to those lofty expectations.
And while Ulis is coming off of a year where he erupted into a McDonald’s All-American from a mid-major plus prospect, he’s still not the kind of talent that is going to use Kentucky as a one-year stepping stone on his way to the NBA Draft’s first round.
That’s part of the issue with putting together a mixtape for a guy like Ulis. He’ll show you some sick no-look passes and a number of ankle-breaking dribble moves, but what he does best is not the kind of thing that is going to show up on a mixtape.
Ulis is key for the Wildcats for a couple of reasons:
- He’s a ball-handler that doubles as a capable outside shooter, and with the massive front line that Kentucky will sport next season, he should get plenty of open looks.
- He’s a tough defender that is quick and pesky enough to bother ball-handlers similar to the way that Ryan Boatright did during UConn’s run to the 2014 national title. Little guards with quick hands are an absolute nuisance to a team trying to run a set.
- Most importantly, Ulis is a pure as point guards get. He can score off the dribble and he showed the ability to take over a game when needed in high school, but his single best attribute is his basketball IQ. He understands the game, he makes the right decision, he’s not afraid to cut off transition and run half court offense, and his court vision allows him to find players that may not even realize they’re open.
That’s one of the things Kentucky was missing this past season. Ulis may need a year under his belt before he reaches the status of being an elite level college point guard, but he’ll be a valuable piece for Coach Cal because he can contribute in those three areas for Kentucky in November.
(Video via BallIsLife.com)