Back for his second season in Lexington, Tyler Ulis is looking to be a breakout star. Viewed as one of the best returning point guards in college basketball, Ulis has already become the unquestionable leader on and off the court. After a season of sharing time with Andrew Harrison, Ulis is ready to take this team on as his own and make it fit his personality.
Weight: 155 lbs
Minutes Per Game: 23.8
Points Per Game: 5.6
Assists Per Game: 3.6
Turnovers Per Game: 1.0
Best Game in 2014/2015: vs. Louisville (14 pts, 2 assists, 1 rebound, and 1 bloody eye)
2015/2016 Outlook: As I stated before, this is Tyler's team now. I fully expect him to be the starting point guard when the Kentucky Wildcats take the floor in the first exhibition game even though Isaiah Briscoe and Jamal Murray are both talented young point guards.
Ulis showed a toughness and a tenacity that isn't usually associated with a player of his stature. He's not afraid of the big moment, nor is he afraid to mix it up with opposing players that are much larger than he is. His signature moment came last season at Louisville when he took an elbow from the Cardinals' Chris Jones. Even though the shot to the face drew blood above his eye, Ulis continued to play until he was forced to go to the bench to patch up the wound. Later in the game, Jones infamously flopped when Dakari Johnson swung his elbows to protect a rebound. The two situations showcased the differences in the attitudes, the character, and the toughness of the opposing players. This is who Tyler Ulis is in a nutshell.
As Ulis takes on the role of leader, he will mold the team in his image. He's a pass-first guard that will have numerous weapons on the perimeter at his disposal, as well as extremely athletic big men in the post that he can lob the ball to. The dribble-drive offense should be especially potent, and Ulis isn't afraid to drive the ball in amongst the trees. Look for his assist numbers to go up.
Ulis is a good three point shooter (43%) and will score when he is open. He isn't a shoot-first point guard by any means. Last season, it was argued that the team flowed better when he was on the court and that Calipari's best lineup was when he and Andrew Harrison shared the floor.
Here are some of Ulis' highlights against Arkansas, a contest in which he also had 14 points and a big game for the Wildcats: