Following a player like Tyler Ulis is no easy task, not to mention just simply being the starting point guard for Kentucky Basketball. However, this is the job that awaits freshman point guard De'Aaron Fox.
Ulis is headed to the NBA following a successful sophomore season where he averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 assists per game, while earning SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
He is also a projected first-round draft pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, and while he only spent two years in Lexington, Ulis will go down as one of the great point guards to ever wear the blue and white.
However, John Calipari's advice to his new highly-touted freshman point guard:
Ulis and Fox are drastically different players, so there's no reason for anyone to expect Fox to be Ulis, nor should Fox strive to be what Ulis was. Fox comes in to UK with more prototypical point guard size at 6'3-6'4 and 175 pounds, while Ulis left Kentucky at 5'9 and 150 pounds.
Fox has drawn comparisons to another former Calipari-coached Wildcat point guard: John Wall. While it's hard to draw those comparisons at this point since Fox hasn't stepped on the floor as a Wildcat yet, they have similar builds and both possess a great degree of speed and athleticism.
Following in the footsteps of Tyler Ulis will not be an easy task, but Fox cannot focus on being like Tyler Ulis when they're already drastically different players. As Calipari said, "I’m not looking for anyone to be anything other than the best version of themselves."
The best version of De'Aaron Fox is what UK needs to get back to the Final Four this coming season, and possibly hang banner No. 9.