Elementary teacher told Ulis’ mom early that he would be special


Kelly Reed always knew that her son, Tyler Ulis, could be a special player.

“It’s just a little thing I would say – point guards are not made; they’re born. Since day one. People ask me, what camps did you send him to? Who trains him? He could dribble the ball like it was on a string since he was like 2 and 3 and that’s the honest truth,” said Reed.

“And it just developed over the years. I always knew he had a little gift. I didn’t know exactly how far it would go. I knew what his dream was. It wasn’t my dream for him, but he’s always been gifted with the ball and just sharing the ball and making kids around him better.

“I actually have a letter from a teacher that he had to write a paper and she said how she watched him on the playground and his dream was to go to the NBA and she said how she sees him making it because she just watched him on the playground. So she saw the saw thing I saw and I want to say he was maybe in the fourth grade.”

Now Ulis is withing two months of seeing his name called in the first round of the NBA Draft despite being only 5-9 and leaving UK after just two years.

“It was surreal sitting here at Kentucky. Each game is like a new game and I’m sitting here like I can’t believe I’m here. Because of his talents I could believe I was here, but it was still surreal. Like I said, he just keeps exceeding my expectations,” Reed said.

She tells him now to “stay humble and hungry” no matter what happens.

“That’s my quote for him and all his friends: Stay humble and hungry. And I just pray that he has a great career in the NBA because that has always been his dream,” Ulis’ mother said.

She liked the way he matured as a person at Kentucky and became even more responsible.

“It’s good to hear everyone we see gives him compliments of the person he is off the court. And that’s always good to hear as a parent because you know you raise them, but you never know when they leave out the door. So it’s a great compliment and a blessing to hear people compliment him just as a person as a young man,” Reed said.

“And we hear it every time we come to town or out of town. Just everywhere. That’s such a blessing and I’m so proud that he represents himself like that.”


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  1. And we are So Proud of how Tyler represents Kentucky…. BBN, understands the Passion for that Ball, Tyler has on a string. Tyler’s drive and determination to just Get Better, hustle and never give in, ” Is Kentucky Basketball.” Thank you so much for this Story, Larry and Thank you so much For Tyler, Mrs Reed…..” I like that teacher, see something special in Tyler and His will to Make Players Better “…..” I see The Future Coach Of The University Of Kentucky Basketball Team.”

  2. I love your comments on here LarryC.
    You and I should lobby to get on the next committee to pick the future Coach at UK BB.
    We already know how he can do after the South Carolina game when Coach Cal went down in the first 1 1/2 minutes and Coach Tyler led them to an impressive victory at South Carolina.

    1. Claude, Tyler will be a great coach one day and Theresa C., I know he has to be one of your all-time favorites

  3. Thank you Mrs. Reed for raising such a fine young man. Tyler is truly special and the BBN will always be grateful to him for blessing us with his talents. When his time in the NBA is over and Cal’s time at UK is finished, we will gladly welcome him back as our next coach. Who knows, maybe he will lead the team as Coach to a NCAA title…that is a really good thought!

  4. Teachers know, they just know. It still hurts to think this young man will not be on the court next year representing Kentucky…oh how I will miss thee Tyler, oh how I will. In case no one has thank you before, Mrs. Reed and his father Mr. Ulis…thank you so much for raising this young man….you did good.

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