John Calipari: Suns’ Booker and Ulis are ‘two peas in a pod’

Jul 1, 2016, 1:29 PM | Updated: Jul 2, 2016, 4:36 pm
(AP Photo/James Crisp)...
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
LISTEN: John Calipari, Kentucky head basketball coach

It wouldn’t be a Phoenix Suns draft without them taking a guard out of the University of Kentucky.

The Suns drafted Tyler Ulis in the second round of the 2016 NBA draft with the 34th overall pick, adding him to a roster full of former Kentucky players alongside Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Archie Goodwin.

So, it’s only natural to think that Ulis already has a strong bond with at least one of his former and now new teammates.

But Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari told Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday that the relationship between Ulis and Booker is more than just a strong bond. It’s something special.

“I imagine they’ll live together, [because] they’re two peas in a pod,” Calipari said. “They’ll eat together, they’ll travel together — you’re talking about two guys that’ll fight for each other.”

Booker and Ulis played one season together at Kentucky, as Booker declared for the draft following his freshman 2014-15 season.

During that season, Booker averaged 10.0 points per game, while Ulis chipped in 5.6 points per game.

Calipari said that Booker “fell into (the Suns’) lap” in the draft, and that the Suns “were doing backflips” when he was still available in the 2015 NBA Draft at the 13th overall selection.

He added that a similar thing happened to Ulis.

“I’m going to tell you how he slipped,” Calipari said. “When he worked out for teams, they couldn’t believe his size. Like there’s no way somebody that size could be this good like everybody is saying. All this hip stuff and knee and ankle — he played 38 minutes a game.”

Ulis more than tripled his scoring output from his freshman year to his sophomore season, averaging 17.3 points per game while also dishing out 7.0 assists per game.

“People are going to want to go watch him play,” Calipari said. “He’s a winner. He fights to win every game he plays, and the guys on the floor with him are going to love playing with him. I don’t care if he’s on the second unit, the second unit is going to be ecstatic playing with him.”

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John Calipari: Suns’ Booker and Ulis are ‘two peas in a pod’