Former University of Kentucky point guard Tyler Ulis, a rookie with the Phoenix Suns, nearly had a triple-double in the team’s 123-116 loss at home to the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
Ulis scored 34 points and grabbed nine rebounds — both career highs — to go with nine assists.
“It was unbelievable,” fellow former Wildcat Devin Booker said in a report on the Suns’ website. “It was good to see. He’s getting a chance to play, getting an opportunity to play and taking full advantage of it. With that being one of my closest friends and teammates, I’m just happy to see him succeeding out there.”
Ulis has averaged 12.0 points, 7.3 assists, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.9 turnovers in 31.1 minutes since the All-Star break.
“I knew Tyler could be special quickly,” Coach Earl Watson said. “If you watched his play in summer league, he showed flashes. An amazing game at his size and as a rookie point guard, that’s great numbers.”
Suns.com reported that Ulis became the team’s first player shorter than six feet to score 30 points in a game.
“I’m just trying to prove to myself and everybody else that I can play,” Ulis said.
Ulis was 15 for 22 from the field.
“The coaching staff wants me to be more aggressive,” Ulis told AZcentral.com. “I usually look to pass coming off screens and things like that, but I wanted to pick my spots and shoot. … I’m kind of a pass-first point guard. Sometimes it gets the best of me.”
Booker added 27 points, nine assists and five rebounds while going 12 for 12 at the free-throw line.