- Reggie Rankin, RecruitingNation
Four-star point guard Tyler Ulis (Matteson, Ill/Marian Catholic) committed to John Calipari and the Kentucky on Friday over Iowa and Michigan State.
Ulis, No. 38 in the ESPN 100, has been rising fast among the true point guards in the class with his high level of consistent play dating back to the early spring while leading the Meanstreets AAU team.
"Kentucky jumped in and started recruiting me after the Peach Jam," said Ulis, the No. 8 point guard and No. 4 player in the talent-rich state of Illinois in 2014.
Why did he pick Kentucky and what will he bring to the Wildcats? Let's break it down.
Why he committed: "Kentucky is the biggest stage and I have an opportunity to play against the best players in the country in practice and the games. I like the way coach Cal develops players and puts them in the NBA," said Ulis.
What he brings: Ulis, who tops out about 5-foot-9 and 150 pounds, is a true point guard with tremendous speed and quickness. Don't let his size fool you; this kid can play and he has proven it all spring and summer. He excels in transition and can run the team flawlessly in the halfcourt set. Ulis has a pass-first mentality. He is wired to get teammates involved and is terrific at doing it with his court vision and ability to complete passes in conjested areas that result in high percentage finishes. But what makes Ulis worth his weight in gold is his ability to make open and big shots with range to the arc. Defenses don't have the luxury to play off of Ulis because he will make them pay. Ulis is also a good decision maker and can make positive plays at end of clock situations as well. Ulis may be small in stature but he is tough, competitive and complete skill wise. Ulis is simply a point guard that other players like to play with.
How he fits: Ulis is an excellent fit for the Wildcats because he will get his talented teammates involved. He makes good decisions on the break and when coming off on ball screens. He has one-man fast break speed and quickness to excel on the break. He can also slow it down and execute and get the ball inside without his defender double-teaming the post because Ulis can make open shots as needed. Ulis is also a one-man press breaker who will earn the trust of Calipari to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line.
Who he reminds us of: Ulis has some Chris Paul in his game the way he gets facilitates and gets teammates involved. He can make timely shots like Trey Burke, although Ulis is not as offensive minded. He also reminds us at times of a better shooting Phil Pressey.
How the class is shaping up: Kentucky moves to No. 7 nationally with Ulis on board joining super skilled center Karl Towns Jr. (Metuchen, NJ/St. Joseph), who is No. 6 overall in the ESPN 100. Expect the Wildcats to continue to build this class with high level talent. They are very much in the mix for a number of top-25 prospects starting with No. 1 Jahlil Okafor, No. 2 Cliff Alexander, No. 4 Trey Lyles and No. 10 Myles Turner not to mention wings No. 12 Stanley Johnson, #15 Justise Winslow and No. 16 Devin Booker and No. 25 James Blackmon Jr. are all highlighted on the Big Blue recruiting board. The Wildcats were also heavily involved with the No. 1 point guard, Tyus Jones but with the commitment from Ulis, Jones may no longer be a option.