Suns Draft Kentucky G Tyler Ulis in Second Round

Tyler Ulis dribbles the ball upcourt during his collegiate career.
UK Athletics

With the 34th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, the Suns selected Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis.

The quick and confident floor general was named the SEC Player of the Year by the coaches and media after averaging 17.3 points, 7.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 35 games for the Wildcats in 2015-16. A tenacious on-ball defender, Ulis also became just the second player in league history to win SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Player of the Year in the same season.

Ulis, 5-10, 150-pounds, was also honored following the 2015-16 season as the recipient of the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation’s top point guard, and by being named First Team All-America by The Sporting News, AP and USA Today.

“He’s tough, he’s smart and he’s a winner,” Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough said. “We think, frankly, the only reason he's [in the second round] is because of his size.

“Once he was there, that was too good to pass up.”

Born in Detroit, Ulis played two seasons at Kentucky as he was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team in 2014-15 when he teamed with Devin Booker to help the Wildcats tie an NCAA record with 38 wins.

Ulis joins Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin and Brandon Knight as former Kentucky guards on the Suns’ roster. The guard becomes the seventh Kentucky player to be drafted by the Suns and fourth in the last two years, joining a list that includes Skal Labissiere (2016), Booker (2015), Andrew Harrison (2015), Rajon Rondo (2006), Kyle Macy (1979) and Jimmy D. Connor (1975).

“I felt it had been too long since we had drafted a Kentucky guard,” McDonough joked.