If Tyler Ulis ends up playing his college career at UK — and many expect he will — he would be one of the smallest scholarship players in the program’s history.
The Chicago-area prospect is listed at 5-8 or 5-9, depending on the source, and he’s much smaller than any of John Calipari’s previous point guards. Ulis would be the first player shorter than 6-feet tall recruited to UK on scholarship since Brandon Stockton, who played for the Cats from 2002-06. And Ulis would be only the second such UK player since Travis Ford in the early 1990s.
Going back to 1950, UK has never successfully recruited an out-of-state scholarship player shorter than 6-feet tall. Ulis would be the first.
Keep reading for a closer look at the only five scholarship players shorter than 6-feet tall to play for the Wildcats since 1970. (Note: This list does not include players brought in as walk-ons, such as current Wildcats Sam Malone and Brian Long) …
5-9 | Glasgow, KY | 2002-06
Stockton won Mr. Basketball honors in 2002 before signing with the Wildcats and playing four seasons under Coach Tubby Smith. He scored 120 total points and dished out 38 assists over 83 games. His career high for points in a game was nine — against Ole Miss during his senior season.
5-9 | Madisonville, KY | 1990-94
Ford played one year at Missouri before sitting out the 1990-91 season at UK as a transfer. He scored 951 points and had 428 assists during his three seasons in Lexington. Ford is ninth on UK’s all-time assists list. His 193 assists in 1993-94 is tied for the third-most of any UK player in a single season, trailing only John Wall (241 in 2009-10) and Roger Harden (232 in 1985-86). Ford held the UK single-game record for assists (15) for more than 16 years before Wall surpassed that mark in 2009. He was the SEC Tournament MVP in 1994.
5-5 | Lexington, KY | 1983-86
Byrd — nicknamed “Baby Magic” — is the shortest player on this list. He was a standout at Bryan Station High School before signing with UNLV and playing one season there. He transferred back to UK, where he was with the Cats for three seasons. Byrd played a total of 24 minutes during his first two seasons at UK. He appeared in 22 games during his final season and finished his UK career with 41 points and 29 assists.
5-9 | Covington, KY | 1980-84
Beal was a star at Covington Holmes before coming to UK and playing significant minutes during his freshman season. He finished his career with 460 points and 301 assists and is No. 15 on UK’s all-time passing list. Beal helped lead the Wildcats to a Final Four berth as a senior in 1984 and had 14 assists in an NCAA Tournament game against BYU that season. That remains the school record for most assists in a tournament game.
5-10 | Maysville, KY | 1971-74
Lyons actually had his best stats during his first season at UK — also Adolph Rupp’s last season as head coach — scoring 344 points and dishing out 64 assists in 26 games. He finished his career with 786 points, 171 assists and 140 rebounds. He was also an 84 percent free-throw shooter at UK, good enough for sixth all-time at the school.
Ulis will announce his college decision tonight at 8:20 p.m. ET.
Source for stats: Jon Scott’s UK basketball page