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Calipari says if you make the game tougher for Tyler Ulis, you’re coming out

© Gunnar Rathbun

© Gunnar Rathbun

© Gunnar Rathbun

It says a lot about Tyler Ulis that, even though he had a career-high 24 points, he wasn’t the story of the game last night. That’s because Ulis has become the cornerstone of this squad, the one player you can rely on game in and game out to bring it. Ulis was magnificent last night, hitting 14-15 free throws to seal the win on the road for Kentucky.

John Calipari has often talked about how in sync he and Ulis are, and throughout the night (and the season, really), Ulis was coaching his teammates on the floor. After the game, I asked Cal what it was like to have a point guard like Tyler, and he said Tyler’s so important, if anyone slacks off and makes him do more, Cal’s taking him out.

“Well, it’s – my only problem right now is we have some guys that are – I’m putting enough on him, but we got other guys that are putting it on him too. Like, a guy on a wing has a shot, doesn’t take it and throws it quickly back to him. Like, ‘You do it. I don’t want to be responsible.’ Or late, he comes off, throws it to Derek, Derek’s wide open, throws it right back to him. Wait a minute. The kid’s got enough on his shoulders. If you’re giving him more, I’m taking you out. You have a responsibility too: to do your job on this team.”


Skal Labissiere was one of those players Ulis kept coming to during timeouts and dead balls, and afterwards, Skal shared some of Ulis’ comments with us.

“Every time I did something good, ‘Just keep going. Keep playing hard.’ I was just more alert tonight, making sure I caught every ball he threw me because Tyler is a great point guard. Like I said, he’s the best point guard in the country so as a big you gotta always be ready to catch his balls and be ready to–because he’s always making plays so you gotta read his plays and that’s what I did tonight. I was ready for him and everything fell into place.”

After all is said and done, Ulis may end up giving Karl Towns a run as my favorite UK player ever.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

15 Comments for Calipari says if you make the game tougher for Tyler Ulis, you’re coming out

  1. roundball fool
    11:11 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Derek still looks scared at times. He needs to have the confidence that if he misses a good shot he won’t get pulled. Not sure if that reassurance comes from Cal, or Derek just has to believe.

    On the other hand, Jamal hasn’t seen a shot he doesn’t like. He was at or close to a goose egg the first half and they finally started falling in the second half.

    Skal showed progress as well. We need Marcus to get the fouls under control.

    • catdaddyd
      11:31 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

      Agree, I think we go as far as Willis can take us. We know what we get with Ulis, although he still not shooting well. Murray is Murray. I never expect anything from Alex. I would like to see Willis post up some, because right now nobody is posting and getting the ball.

  2. Biglaw Dawgin'
    11:13 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Did anyone notice the commentary by analyst Sean Farnham last night where he pretty much said word for word what Matt said on Paul Finebaum’s show about UK? There was a little stretch where Farnham talked about UK being down because the class of Freshman are down as a whole and pointed to Malik Newman at MSU as another example. Eerily similar.

  3. chrisg18
    11:37 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Always gotta be ready to catch Tyler’s balls, Skal.

  4. bluetide
    11:49 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Tyler is an AMAZING floor general. We are SO lucky he is 5’9. I feel that makes him a 4 yr guy, and having this guy running our team for 4 years is an absolute blessing. I hope he can have some career in the NBA, but I see coaching definitely in his future. It’s in him.

    • kvltclassic
      12:48 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      Don’t get your hopes up on the four years out of Tyler. I wouldn’t even get too excited about a third year.

    • StuckinLville
      12:57 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      Tyler will leave after this year. If he keeps putting up the numbers and looking as good as he is, guarantee it.

  5. secrick
    11:49 am January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Vandy is back to hitting those threes, going have to play some good defense SAT.

    • Rixter
      4:59 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      The number of threes that Vandy hits has nothing to do with Vandy and everything to do with the Cats.

  6. mudcreekmark
    12:03 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

    A point guard is only as good as the players around him. If players stand around and don’t move without the ball then a great point guard can look pedestrian. A great point guard like Ulis will find you if you move to the open spot. When he penetrates and the help comes then you have to get into position and be ready. These bigs can get a lot of easy points if they just make themselves available.

  7. Pitinohater
    12:30 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

    Why would Cal use Derek in his example of who’s coming out? After Derek’s comments after the game last night I wonder about the relationship between Derek and Cal. Cal only played Willis after he had no other options. Then when Willis outplayed Lee, AP and Skal he got more time and finally started. Cal called out Willis at the end of the half in a game when the man he was guarding hit a three even though Willis challenged the shot. Granted, he could have been closer but if he fouled the player imagine what Cal would have said. Maybe nothing but seems strange.

    • kvltclassic
      12:49 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      I remember the play he was talking about, Derek was fairly open and passed it back to Tyler. He probably brought up Derek because you know that Briscoe and Murray have never seen a shot that won’t take haha.

    • StuckinLville
      12:58 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      I remember the play as well, but I thought he didn’t catch it cleanly and that’s why he didn’t force it.

  8. BigBlueSkyDog
    12:32 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

    I’ll say it until the cows come home. Tyler Ulis is the smartest player we’ve had since Kyle Macy and it’s not even close. Both those players are on a level of their own in that regard. Both are natural leaders with different styles of leadership. Tyler is more in-your-grill. Kyle was as cool as a cucumber and his teammates reflected that. Both made plays when their teams needed them to. Even if this team does not live up to what we’ve hoped, it has been a great pleasure watching Tyler Ulis play ball.

    • Rixter
      5:02 pm January 22, 2016 Permalink

      Agreed.. the only other player in that conversation (IMO) are Travis Ford and maybe Anthony Epps.