In his latest NBA draft declaration tracker piece, ESPN's Chad Ford says that Tyler Ulis is now in the discussion for being selected in the lottery, which is within the first 14 picks. He also lists Ulis among the prospects who've officially declared for the draft after John Calipari has repeatedly stated his star point guard was going to the NBA this year.
Coach John Calipari announced Ulis would turn pro after the season. If Ulis were 3 to 4 inches taller, he'd likely be a top-5 pick. He's that good.
Ulis is the consummate playmaker, using speed and quickness to move wherever he wants on the floor. He rarely makes mistakes with the basketball and is unselfish. He has a solid jump shot and can blow past defenders. Look for him to land in the 20-to-30 range.
Ford also lists Isaiah Briscoe and Skal Labissiere in the '50-50 to declare' list. At this point, it only seems right that Ulis could actually be drafted ahead of both Skal and Briscoe if they declare. They've shown the potential to be good college players, but little to nothing suggesting they'll make it in the pros.
In a separate article, Ford had Skal's stock falling to the point he may fall into the 20s.
Labissiere showed flashes of being a lottery pick against Stony Brook, scoring 12 points and blocking six shots. But against a much stronger opponent in Indiana he reverted back to being a nonfactor and wasn't even on the court down the stretch for UK.
His height, shooting and shot-blocking ability make him an attractive prospect. However, his lack of strength, aggressiveness and ability to play in the paint -- combined with lackluster production -- give teams pause.
Most scouts are hoping he returns to UK for a sophomore season. If he declares, it's pretty tough to peg his stock. I think it's somewhere between No. 7 and No. 20. But that's a very wide range.
Some other notable players Ford has as 50-50 to declare for the draft include Vandy guard Wade Baldwin, LSU guard Antonio Blakeney, UNC forward Justin Jackson, Vandy center Damian Jones, Mississippi State guard Malik Newman, and LSU guard Tim Quarterman.
I saw notable because Kentucky plays all of those teams next season, twice when it comes to Vandy, so UK's strength of schedule will be impacted by their decisions.
In the end, I anticipate Ulis, Murray, Skal and Briscoe all to declare for the draft, but Skal and Briscoe to not sign with an agent so they aren't locked into the draft unless they decide to in stay around the May 25th deadline.