Tyler Ulis to Kentucky: Wildcats Land 4-Star PG Recruit

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2013


Add another one to the Calipari Collection in Lexington.

In an announcement first reported by CBS Sports' Jeff Borzello, 4-star point guard Tyler Ulis decided Friday night that he'd be joining John Calipari and attending Kentucky. The Wildcats were one of three schools in Ulis' final considerations, with Iowa and Michigan State both getting spurned. 

The announcement was broadcast live on the high school streaming website HighSchoolCube.com. Flanked by cheerleaders, a friend wearing a Roman helmet and cape and his younger brother, the senior point guard stood on the Marian Catholic (Ill.) track and announced his decision.

Asked why he chose to head to Lexington, Ulis cited the reason many so often do—surrounding talent and Calipari's presence. 

"[Going to Kentucky] will help me out working hard everyday playing against the top competition, playing with the top competition," Ulis said. "And Coach Cal does a good job developing players."

Ulis' father also spoke to the media after his son's decision, telling the Lexington Herald-Leader's Ben Roberts how Calipari said his son would fit in the hierarchy:

Standing just 5'8" and weighing only 142 pounds, Ulis will represent a massive switch from what Wildcat fans have become accustomed to at the point guard spot. Calipari has historically recruited big, athletic point guards who use their size and physicality to take over the game. The 54-year-old head coach's three most notable proteges at that spot—Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose and John Wall—each stand at least 6'4".

Likely starting point guard for 2013-14 Andrew Harrison is also 6'5".

Ulis is built like Nate Robinson—without the grown-man muscle. Without an unexpected growth spurt, he's going to have to rely on putting on some weight to survive at the major collegiate level. The film shows a kid who often finds himself physically overpowered by high school talent, and the lack of strength could hurt him when finishing at the rim at Kentucky.

Nevertheless, Ulis' raw talent and hard work have turned him from a relatively forgotten prospect into one of the fastest-rising names in the nation. He has an elite first step that allows him to blow past defenders and has an understanding of time and situation well beyond his years. He's also an adept passer and ball-handler, making up for what he lacks in elite athleticism and size with skills.

The composite rankings at 247Sports have Ulis ranked No. 38 in the nation and ninth among point guards. 

Calipari has made his bones with one-and-done talent; his freshman class at Kentucky this upcoming season has as many as five players who could leave after one season. 

Ulis is the type of player who should buck that trend and become a Wildcat for years to come.


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