Officially announcing his decision during a press conference at Memorial Coliseum, Ulis said there will never be a better time to begin pursuit of his professional dream.
"I’m ready to take on the challenge of playing at the next level and have declared for the NBA Draft," said Ulis, who noted he will be hiring an agent. “To all the fans, thank you for supporting me and embracing me from the moment I stepped on the floor. Your enthusiasm and spirit carried me over the last two seasons and you all make it even harder for me to leave.”
He joins teammates Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere as UK players who will enter the June 23 draft. DraftExpress.com currently projects Murray as the No. 6 pick, Labissiere at No. 10 and Ulis at No. 20 in the first round.
Ulis, a sophomore point guard, averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 assists per game this season in capturing SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was a consensus All-America selection and a finalist for the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award. His 246 assists set a new single-season record at UK.
“I’ve coached a lot of great leaders and great point guards in all my years of coaching," UK head coach John Calipari said via a statement released by the school. "Tyler Ulis is the best floor general that I’ve ever coached.
'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... I’m going to miss him dearly because now it appears that all the coaching will fall back on my lap.”
The 5-foot-9 Ulis was tabbed the shortest consensus All-American since Pittsburgh's Don Hennon in 1958.