The SEC Coaches Teleconference was this morning and The Courier-Journal’s Kyle Tucker went in with a mission to ask every coach in the league where they thought Tyler Ulis ranks in the race for SEC Player of the Year. Kyle got 13 out of 14 coaches to answer the question, Missouri’s Kim Anderson being the lone exception.
As you might expect, the coaches had nothing but praise for Ulis, who was named SEC Player of the Week earlier today. Here’s a roundup of the best comments.
Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings
On whether Ulis should be considered for SEC Player of the Year: “Perhaps at the very top. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody’s who’s been any more impactful for their team.”
“He just a guy that plays the game exactly how it should be played,” Stallings said. “And rarely, if ever, deviates from that.”
Florida’s Mike White
“Not one other guy comes to mind as more deserving,” White said. “I thought that he was their engine. …I thought he made them go.”
South Carolina’s Frank Martin
“If it was today, he probably needs to win it,” Martin said. “You can’t rattle him, can’t speed him up and he’s tough as nails. He scores, guards, passes, controls the game, knows what his coach wants him to do. That’s what it’s all about.”
Georgia’s Mark Fox
“I would say he would be leading candidate, right now, if you were taking a poll,” Fox said.
“He’s a guy that you can’t speed up or slow down. He controls the game and he really is playing at an outstanding level.”
LSU’s Johnny Jones
“I think he’s a really solid player. I think he’s very good. When you talk about playing one of the top teams in our conference and the leadership he’s provided. Certainly think he should be in the conversation for Player of the Year because of what he’s provided.”
With his own Ben Simmons also in the race for SEC Player of the Year, Jones conceded Ulis should be one of the “top two or three” players considered for the award.
Auburn’s Bruce Pearl
“If Kentucky wins the league, then I will vote for Tyler Ulis. If LSU wins it, I’ll vote for Ben Simmons.”
“His ability to lead his team, which is still a young team, and play the entire game and stay out of foul trouble, it’s pretty spectacular,” Pearl said. “He is one of the guys I love to watch.”
Mississippi State’s Ben Howland
Howland agreed with Pearl that if UK wins the SEC, then Ulis should be SEC POY.
“He’s definitely a player you have to consider,” Howland said. “And what he and Murray did at South Carolina without Coach Calipari on the sideline was absolutely mind-boggling impressive. I just was blown away by that score.”
Ole Miss’ Andy Kennedy
“He certainly should be in consideration with a handful of other guys,” Kennedy said. “I forget that he’s only a sophomore. He plays like a fifth-year senior with his poise and ability to make plays.”
Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy
“He definitely needs to be strongly considered,” Kennedy said. “A veteran who makes everybody around him better and runs that team and has good command and control of what they do offensively and defensively.”
Kyle’s got a full transcript of all 13 coaches’ comments over at the Courier-Journal if you want more.