Kentucky head coach John Calipari compared Tyler Ulis, the Wildcats’ 5-foot-9 star point guard, to Boston Celtics point man Isaiah Thomas following Kentucky’s win over Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament Final. Calipari also went so far as to say that Ulis should be in the Player of the Year conversation and that his height was the only reason he wasn’t.
Calipari’s comments, made in a postgame interview with ESPN’s Shannon Spake, were posted to Twitter by Ryan Krasnoo of Sports Illustrated and Eastern Washington student Brandon Cline.
Coach Cal: "Tyler Ulis is the player of the year in the country, everyone knows it but they're afraid to say it because he's 5-foot-9"
— Ryan Krasnoo (@RyanKras) March 13, 2016
John Calipari with the 'Isaiah Thomas is doing just fine in the NBA without being tall' shoutout after UK's game.
— Brandon Cline (@_BrandonCline) March 13, 2016
Now, to be fair, Calipari’s words are not without merit. Ulis led Kentucky with 30 points in today’s game and also added five assists and three steals. He shot 10 of 17 from the field and looked unstoppable at points.
On top of that, Isaiah Thomas has done quite the job of establishing himself as a scoring threat in the NBA despite being just 5-foot-9 himself. Playing for the Celtics this year, he has averaged 21.9 points per game.
But the fact of the matter is that with all of the parity that existed throughout this season, not to mention how Kentucky struggled at times, it’s easy to see why Tyler Ulis’ name would fall through the cracks in the Player of the Year conversation.
Still, there’s no doubt that he’ll be carrying Kentucky on his back in the NCAA Tournament and will probably wow fans with some great performances in the coming week.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports