September 13, 2013
Tyler Ulis makes his decision Friday.
He could be the next Kentucky point guard.
UK's initial top two targets at that position are either unofficially out of the picture (Emmanual Mudiay) or trending toward'unlikely to come to UK (Tyus Jones).
Which leaves No. 33-ranked Ulis as, potentially, the next UK point guard.
If he ends up being the starter, he would be the lowest-ranked starting point guard on a Calipari-coached team since 2007 (Willie Kemp, No. 57 overall. The overall ranking of the next seven? No. 1, No. 6, No. 1, No. 6, No. 5, No. 19, No. 5).
It would be a change, sure. To put in perspective Ulis' ranking and what we might be able to expect, here's a list of every point guard from the last four classes who were ranked within 10 spots, higher or lower, than Ulis is currently ranked.
Elijah Johnson, No. 24, Kansas
Maalik Wayns, No. 26, Villanova
Mfon Udofia, No. 32, Georgia Tech
Lorenzo Brown, No. 37, N.C. State
Peyton Siva, No. 39, Louisville
Vander Blue, No. 24, Marquette
Keala King, No. 26, Arizona State
Kendall Marshall, No. 32, North Carolina
Keith Appling, No. 38, Michigan State
Ray McCallum, No. 43, Detroit
No. 25, B.J. Young, Arkansas
No. 26, Myck Kabongo, Texas
No. 29, Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
No. 32, Ky Madden, Arkansas
No. 33, Jahii Carson, Arizona State
No. 38, Quinn Cook, Duke
No. 42, Ryan Boatright, Connecticut
No. 31, Semaj Christon, Xavier
No. 34, Marcus Paige, North Carolina
As you can see, there's quite a range in these players. This is certainly a crude measuring stick for a high school player, but I'd say it's fairly representative. Some were able to make a pretty good early impact. Other took a couple years at least to develop into a major contributor. Still others never amounted to anything substantial.
The twist in this, of course, is Calipari. He's adept at bringing along a player as a freshman, and Ulis figures to have plenty of talent around him. But we may find out, for the first time in a while, if Calipari needs his point guard to be elite or if something else will work -- as well as whether he can bring a player who isn't already considered elite and make him so, and how fast.