One of the best players of the John Calipari era with the Kentucky Wildcats was Tyler Ulis, who was essentially a coach on the court during his playing time here.
Since last January, Ulis has been an actual coach on Calipari’s staff as a student assistant.
Ulis, who won the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation’s best point guard in 2016, is the perfect coach for the talented guards Kentucky has on its roster this season.
On Thursday, assistant coach Chin Coleman was asked about the impact Ulis is having on DJ Wagner, Rob Dillingham, and Reed Sheppard.
“In terms of being a point guard, he (Ulis) pulls Reed to the side, Rob to the side, DJ to the side and drops a bunch of nuggets on them in terms of what he did, how he played, and what they should do in this or that situation,” Coleman stated. “He’s a huge addition to our staff in terms of his knowledge of the game.”
Ulis knows exactly what it takes to have success on a stage like Kentucky’s, and when he speaks, the players listen because he has done this before.
“A huge impact,” Coleman said of Ulis. “He’s a voice of influence because he played for Coach Cal. He was in the space that this whole team is in, so he can speak to those guys in terms of explaining the Cal-isms, as I like to call them. He can explain the Cal-isms in terms of, ‘This is what he really means.’”
Calipari has always raved about Ulis’ time here as a player and how he was essentially a coach for the team. Coleman echoed that on Thursday.
“He was that guy on the floor who coached the team,” Coleman said of Ulis’ playing days. “He’s using those skills and sharing them with our young guards. He has been a plus for us, a big plus.”
Having someone like Ulis on the bench to help develop the talented guards this team has is clearly nothing but a huge positive, and that’s been evident with how well freshmen guards like Sheppard and Dillingham are already playing just three games into their college careers.
Let’s hope that impact continues and these Cats continue to grow into a Final Four-caliber squad.