Just as coach John Calipari promised, Tyler Ulis is going pro early.
Nearly two years after arriving on campus to guarantees that he wouldn’t be a four-year player, the sophomore point guard announced intentions to hire an agent and enter the 2016 NBA Draft at a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Lexington.
“I feel like it’s time,” he said, “and I’m prepared.”
Ulis earned All-American honors and was a finalist for the Naismith Award this past season after recording 17.3 points and seven assists per game.
He also set the Wildcats’ single-season assists record (246) while finishing with the most 20-point, 5-assist games in school history (14).
“Tyler Ulis is the best floor general that I’ve ever coached,” Calipari said, according to a university release. “What I loved is he grew into that position. You couldn’t speed him up and you couldn’t slow him down unless he wanted to do one of those things. He coached the team this season as much as I did, and I’m proud to say that.”
The 5-foot-9 star from Marian Catholic (Chicago Heights, Ill.) follows Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere out the door as early draft entrants. They’re all expected to be first-round picks, with DraftExpress.com listing Ulis as its No. 20 overall player in the 2016 class.
With several 5-star players coming onboard for next season, Ulis said it was “tough” to leave Kentucky behind.
“There’s definitely hesitation going out the way we did,” Ulis said. “We didn’t win it last year. Didn’t win it this year, and I always wanted a national title. Those guys coming in… it’d be a lot of fun playing with them, throwing lobs to the two guards, the bigs coming in, but this is what’s best for me and my family.”