John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats have reportedly expressed interest in 2014 point guard Tyler Ulis.
The Chicago native is ranked the 34th best recruit in the class, and is a 4-star prospect. Michigan State, Florida State, Southern Cal, DePaul, Northwestern, Purdue and Iowa have all given offers. While Kentucky has yet to extend an offer, they are reportedly trying to get in the mix.
The Chicago area has been very kind to John Calipari over the years. He landed both Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis from the Chicago area, and both played for the AAU team Meanstreets. During the last weekend in July, Calipari was in Las Vegas scouting 2015 5-star guard Charles Matthews.
While watching Matthews and his Meanstreets club, Calipari became very interested in 5’9” point guard Tyler Ulis. Despite his small stature, he is extremely difficult to keep out of the lane and has plenty of skill. Last month, Ulis showed off his ability against 2014 No. 1 point guard Tyus Jones. Ulis dropped 22 points and 17 assists against the nation’s top ranked point guard while impressing the UK staff.
While it is yet to be seen if Ulis will get an offer, John Calipari’s interest in him speaks volumes. Calipari specifically recruits point guards that will fit the mold of his dribble drive motion offense. Usually, these guards are around 6’4” with really long wingspans. Kentucky’s incoming guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison both stand at 6’5”, and John Wall stands at 6’4”.
Calipari has also proven he can use smaller guards with a unique skill set. Eric Bledsoe was only 6’1”, but he was extremely tough, strong and explosive. Brandon Knight was a 6’2” scoring machine. I could see Ulis thriving in this offense due to his ability to get in the lane and beat his man off the dribble.
As of now, Tyus Jones and Emmanuel Mudiay are the only point guards in the 2014 class with offers from Kentucky. I’m sure John Calipari does not expect to land Jones due to his strong ties with Duke.
5-star point guard Josh Perkins has the Wildcats in his final five schools even though he does not hold an offer from UK. If Calipari extends an offer to Ulis, he may not feel confident about landing Tyus Jones or Josh Perkins. Emmanuel Mudiay has long been tied with Kentucky and the Wildcats are the favorites to land him.
I could see Ulis coming off of the bench for Kentucky in a back-up point guard role, adding to the backcourt depth. In John Calipari’s dribble drive motion offense, you can never have too many guys that can beat their man off the dribble. Ulis would be a welcome addition to the 2014 class.