Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Tyler Ulis Consensus First Team All-American



It’s official: Kentucky men’s basketball point guard Tyler Ulis is a consensus first-team All-American.

Ulis earned the honors Tuesday after making the Associated Press All-America First Team alongside Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, North Carolina’s Brice Johnson and Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine. Ulis is the only non-senior on the team. 

According to the AP, the 5-foot-9 Ulis is the shortest AP All-American since 5-9 Johnny O’Brien of Seattle in 1953. Ulis received 43 of a possible 65 first-place votes, third among all players. UK now has 17 AP first-team All-Americans with 19 total AP first-team honors.

The sophomore point guard was also tabbed to the CBS Sports All-America First Team earlier on Tuesday.

Freshman guard Jamal Murray was selected to both the AP All-America Third Team and the CBS Sports All-America Third Team. With Ulis and Murray, UK has now had nine AP All-Americans under head coach John Calipari.

Kentucky was the only school with two players named to the AP's three All-America teams. 

The NCAA recognizes consensus All-Americans based on four “major” NCAA-recognized All-America teams: the AP, Sporting News, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Since 1984, the NCAA has applied a standardized point system based on those four All-America teams, with three points awarded to first-team honors, two to second-teams honors and one to third-team honors. The top five totals in the country plus ties are considered consensus first-team All-Americans, and the next five plus ties make the second team.

Ulis, by virtue of the points system, earned first-team honors on Tuesday. He was named a first-team All-American by the AP and Sporting News and a second-team All-American by the USBWA and the NABC.

The Chicago native is the shortest consensus first-team All-American since Pittsburgh’s Don Hennon, at 5-9, earned the distinction in 1958.

Ulis is the 21st consensus first-team All-American in school history and the fourth under Calipari. All told, UK has had 26 consensus first-team All-America honors. Forest Sale (1932, 1933), Ralph Beard (1947-49), Alex Groza (1947, 1949) and Cliff Hagan (1952, 1954) achieved the feat in multiple seasons.

Willie Cauley-Stein (2015), Anthony Davis (2012) and John Wall (2010) previously earned the distinction under Calipari.

Kentucky’s 26 consensus first-team All-America selections is tied with North Carolina for the second most all-time. Kansas leads with 28.

Ulis posted one of the greatest all-time individual seasons for a point guard in school history while leading the Wildcats to a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, the SEC Tournament title and a 27-9 overall record in 2015-16.

En route to becoming one of the nation’s elite players, Ulis ended the season with 246 assists, setting the new single-season school record previously held by John Wall. Until the season’s final game, Ulis had a streak of 28 consecutive games with four or more assists, the longest streak in school history since at least 1972-73.

Later this week he will be in Houston as one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the nation’s most outstanding player of the year. Next week he will head to Los Angeles as one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Tyler Ulis Named NABC Second Team All-American



Kentucky sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis has picked up three of the four NCAA-recognized All-America honors after being tabbed to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America Second Team on Monday. 

Ulis has now been named an All-American by the Sporting News (first team), the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (second team) and the NABC (second team). The Associated Press, the fourth NCAA-recognized All-America team, has not been released yet and will determine if Ulis is a consensus All-American.

The Chicago native was tabbed to the NABC All-America Second Team alongside Providence’s Kris Dunn, Kansas’ Perry Ellis, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Utah’s Jakob Poeltl.

Ulis is the eighth Wildcat to be named an NABC All-American during the John Calipari era. Willie Cauley-Stein was a first-team selection, while Karl-Anthony Towns was named to the second team last season.

Located in Kansas City, Mo., the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. The NABC currently has nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men’s basketball coaches. All members of the NABC are expected to uphold the core values (advocacy, leadership, service and education) of being a Guardian of the Game by bringing attention to the positive aspects of the sport of basketball and the role coaches play in the academic and athletic lives of today’s student-athletes. 

Ulis posted one of the greatest all-time individual seasons for a point guard in school history while leading the Wildcats to a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, the SEC Tournament title and a 27-9 overall record in 2015-16.

En route to becoming one of the nation’s elite players, Ulis ended the season with 246 assists, setting the new single-season school record previously held by John Wall. Until the season’s final game, Ulis had a streak of 28 consecutive games with four or more assists, the longest streak in school history since at least 1972-73.

Later this week he will be in Houston as one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the nation’s most outstanding player of the year.

Among the honors Ulis has already received this postseason:

·         Sporting News All-America First Team
·         USBWA All-America Second Team
·         NABC All-America Second Team
·         SEC Player of the Year (Coaches/AP)
·         SEC Tournament MVP
·         SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Coaches) 
·         All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP) 
·         SEC All-Defensive Team (Coaches) 
·         USA Today All-America First Team 
·         CBS Sports SEC Player of the Year 
·         USBWA District IV Player of the Year 
·         USBWA All-District IV Team
·         NABC District 21 First Team
·         Naismith Trophy finalist
·         John R. Wooden Award finalist 
·         USBWA Oscar Robertson finalist
·         Bob Cousy finalist 

About Mr. Fab-ULIS: Ulis finished the season averaging 17.3 points and an SEC-best 7.0 assists. Following his final game, he ranked seventh nationally in assists and sixth in the country with a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

He was the only player in the SEC averaging at least 17.3 points and 7.0 assists or better. He was one of just four players in the nation (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State; Juan’ya Green, Hofstra) with those numbers and the lone underclassman entering this weekend’s action.

Ulis completed the year with the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14, and according to the SEC Network, his three 20-point, 10-assist games this season are the most of any SEC player in the last 20 seasons.

In league play, Ulis averaged 8.4 assists with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He played 672 of a possible 725 minutes in SEC games, committing a turnover every 19.8 minutes per game.

Ulis’ value was probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He averaged a team-best 24.4 points and a team-high 7.6 assists in UK’s seven games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.2 percent with a 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he played 291 of the possible 295 minutes in those games, including the entire 45 minutes of all three overtime contests.


Four Future Cats Will Play In McDonald's All-American Game Wednesday Night



The future of the Kentucky men’s basketball program will be on display this week at the McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago.

UK signees Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, De’Aaron Fox, Sacha Killeya-Jones and Malik Monk will play in Wednesday night’s premier high school all-star game. The game will be televised at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, live from the United Center in Chicago. 

Kentucky’s other 2016 signee, Wenyen Gabriel, was not eligible for the game as a fifth-year senior.

Monk is expected to compete in both the dunk contest and the 3-point contest in Monday night’s 2016 Powerade Jam Fest, which will be televised at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. All four of UK’s 2016 McDonald’s All-Americans took part in Monday’s practice.

Adebayo, Fox and Killeya-Jones will suit up for the East team in Wednesday night’s main event, while Fox will play for the West.

With the selections of Adebayo, Fox, Killeya-Jones and Monk, UK has signed 25 players during the John Calipari era who have been named to the prestigious high school event, more than any other school in the country during that time period. Four players or more from each signing class have been tabbed McDonald’s All-Americans during the Calipari era, including six in the 2013 class.

Fox, who made the Naismith All-America First Team for high school boys basketball, led Cypress Lakes (Katy, Texas) with a pair of back-to-back 40-point performances in the Texas high school state playoffs before falling in the regional finals. During the regular season he scored 30 or more points in 20 games, 40 or more eight times and even hit the 50-point mark in February.

Fox is rated as high as No. 2 overall in the rankings by 247Sports. Scout ranks him at No. 4, Rivals has him at No. 5 and ESPN tabs him No. 7. Scout and 247Sports both rank the five-star prospect as the No. 1 point guard in the talented 2016 group. He participated in the 2015 USA Basketball Junior National Team minicamp, made the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team in September and will play in the 2016 Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.

Adebayo will join Kentucky out of High Point Christian Academy in High Point, N.C., where he averaged 18.9 points and 13.0 rebounds his senior season. He led High Point Christian Academy to an appearance in the state title game.

Adebayo, who made the Naismith All-America Second Team, is ranked in the top 10 by ESPN (No. 4) and Rivals (No. 7). 247Sports (No. 15) and Scout (No. 15) tab him as a top-15 prospect in the 2016 class. He has prior USA Basketball experience and was named a MaxPreps All-American in 2013. He’s also slated to play in the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15.

Killeya-Jones was a double-double machine during his final season at Virginia Episcopal in Lynchburg, Va., posting 13 games with at least 20 points and at least 10 rebounds.

A long, athletic big man considered to have a ton of upside, Killeya-Jones is a consensus top-10 forward in the class of 2016. The 6-foot-10, 207-pound forward is a highly skilled offensive post player who is a consensus top-30 player. 274Sports ranks him 14th overall, Rivals has him 26th, ESPN has him at No. 27 and Scout tabs him at No. 30.

Monk, a Naismith All-American (second team) is considered the top shooting guard in the class. At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Monk is a long and athletic guard that can both shoot it and make plays off the dribble. The consensus five-star prospect is ranked No. 5 overall in the 2016 class by 247Sports, No. 6 by Rivals and Scout, and No. 8 by ESPN.

In a season in which he averaged 28.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists at taking Bentonville High School (Lepanto, Ark.), Monk’s season highlights include a single-game school scoring record with 53 points. He, who was named to the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team in September, led Bentonville to the state championship game. He will also play in the Jordan Brand Classic.

Kentucky has signed 57 McDonald’s All-Americans since the team began in 1977, including current Wildcats Isaiah Briscoe (2015), Marcus Lee (2013), Alex Poythress (2012) and Tyler Ulis (2014).

Former and current Wildcats who played in the McDonald's All-America Game previously during Calipari's tenure include: Devin Booker (2014), Briscoe (2015), DeMarcus Cousins (2009), Anthony Davis(2011), Archie Goodwin (2012), Aaron Harrison (2013), Andrew Harrison (2013), Dakari Johnson(2013), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2011), Terrence Jones (2010), Brandon Knight (2010), Doron Lamb (2010), Lee (2013), Trey Lyles (2014), Poythress (2012), Julius Randle(2013), Marquis Teague (2011), Karl-Anthony Towns (2014), Ulis (2014), Kyle Wiltjer(2011) and James Young (2013).


Monday, March 21, 2016

Poythress Named Finalists for 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Athlete of The Year



Kentucky senior forward Alex Poythress has made the final list for the 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Athlete of the Year award. Poythress is one of just two basketball players and one of four total student-athletes named as male finalists.

Poythress joined Corey Brown (men’s soccer at Queens University of Charlotte), Marcus Paige (men’s basketball at North Carolina) and Paul Pitts III (football at San Diego State) on the final list. The male and female athlete of the year will be announced April 7. 

This year marks the third season Poythress has been named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.

The finalists were chosen from 30 semifinalists and more than 1,000 outstanding minority student-athletes nominated by their respective college or university.

In 1992, “Black Issues In Higher Education” magazine, now “Diverse,” established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
            
A scholar and athlete, Ashe sought to expand opportunities for young people. Each year Diverse invites every postsecondary institution in the country to participate in this awards program by nominating their outstanding sports scholars. In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.

To be included, students need to compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2, and be active on their campuses or in their communities. The NCAA Office of Inclusion has partnered with Diverse to support this standout class of scholar-athletes.  Approximately 1,000 male and female students from across the country were nominated.

Past recipients of the award include: Baylor University’s (2011) Robert Griffin III, Heisman Trophy winner and former Washington Redskins quarterback; the University of Tennessee’s (2003) Kara Lawson, an ESPN analyst who played for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs; San Diego State University’s (1993) Marshall Faulk, NFL Hall of Famer; and the University of Kansas’ (1996) Jacque Vaughn, former head coach of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Poythress concluded his UK career over the weekend with 966 career points, 597 rebounds and 77 blocks. He’s just the 12th player in Kentucky’s storied history to post 900 points, 500 rebounds and 70 blocks in a career.

In his final season at Kentucky, Poythress averaged 10.2 points and a team-high-tying 6.0 rebounds per game. He recorded four double-doubles, tied for second on the team.

Earlier this month Poythress was named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Second Team, the first Wildcat to make CoSIDA’s Academic All-American teams since Mark Pope in 1995.

The Clarksville, Tenn., native graduated in just three years with a degree in business marketing. He earned a 3.517 undergraduate grade-point average and is now pursuing a master’s of science in kinesiology and health promotion with an emphasis on sport leadership. He finished his first semester of grad school with a 4.0 GPA.

Poythress has appeared on the SEC Academic Honor Roll during every year of college. He has been named to the Athletic Director’s honor roll three times, which honors the student-athlete with the highest GPA of his team. 

Since his arrival on campus, Poythress has been a steady presence within the community. He’s contributed to various activities such as the God’s Pantry Food Drive and Samaritan’s Feet. He is often a volunteer for stops at local children’s hospitals, as well as appearances at local elementary schools. Poythress has played kickball with elementary students, read to them a various times and has even made guest appearances at camps in his hometown.

Along with his teammates, he was involved in a Hurricane Sandy telethon, a clothing drive for the needy, and various meet-and-greets during the holidays. Furthermore, Poythress is a mainstay at UK basketball camps throughout the summer, serving as a camp counselor for kids of all ages.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tyler Ulis Named One of Four Finalists For Naismith Trophy




 Kentucky sophomore guard Tyler Ulis is one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, awarded annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the nation’s most outstanding player of the year.

Ulis is a finalist along with Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield and Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine. Ulis is the only non-senior of the four.

Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy is awarded annually to the women's and men's college basketball players of the year. This year’s trophy will be presented at the Naismith Awards Brunch on April 3 in Houston, site of the Final Four. 

First awarded in 1969 to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Naismith Trophy was sculpted by Marty C. Dawe of Atlanta and has become one of the most prestigious national honors awarded each year to the top women's and men's college basketball players in the nation. Each year, the Atlanta Tipoff Club's board of selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country, vote on player performance to ultimately select the winners.

Ulis’ 2015-16 season ended on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Chicago native posted one of the greatest all-time individual seasons for a point guard in school history while leading the Wildcats to a share of the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship, the SEC Tournament title and a 27-9 overall record.

En route to becoming one of the nation’s elite players, Ulis ended the season with 246 assists, setting the new single-season school record previously held by John Wall. Until the season’s final game, Ulis had a streak of 28 consecutive games with four or more assists, the longest streak in school history since at least 1972-73.

Ulis has already been named to the Sporting News All-America First Team, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-America Second Team, and the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by both the league’s coaches and the Associated Press.

Among the honors Ulis has already received this postseason:

·         Naismith Trophy finalist
·         Sporting News All-America First Team
·         USBWA All-America Second Team
·         SEC Player of the Year (Coaches/AP)
·         SEC Tournament MVP
·         SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Coaches) 
·         All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP) 
·         SEC All-Defensive Team (Coaches) 
·         USA Today All-America First Team 
·         CBS Sports SEC Player of the Year 
·         USBWA District IV Player of the Year 
·         USBWA All-District IV Team
·         Bob Cousy finalist 
·         John R. Wooden Award finalist 
·         USBWA Oscar Robertson finalist

About Mr. Fab-ULIS: Ulis finished the season averaging 17.3 points and an SEC-best 7.0 assists. Through games on Saturday, he ranks seventh nationally in assists and sixth in the country with a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Entering Sunday’s games, the Chicago native was the only player in the SEC averaging at least 17.3 points and 7.0 assists or better. He was one of just four players in the nation (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State; Juan’ya Green, Hofstra) with those numbers and the lone underclassman.

Ulis completed the year with the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14, and according to the SEC Network, his three 20-point, 10-assist games this season are the most of any SEC player in the last 20 seasons.

In league play, Ulis averaged 8.4 assists with a 4.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. He played 672 of a possible 725 minutes in SEC games, committing a turnover every 19.8 minutes per game.

Ulis’ value was probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He averaged a team-best 24.4 points and a team-high 7.6 assists in UK’s seven games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.2 percent with a 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he played 291 of the possible 295 minutes in those games, including the entire 45 minutes of all three overtime contests.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Travis Ford And Oklahoma State Call It Quits



The relationship between Ford and Oklahoma State went Pffft after going 12-20 this season and 3-15 in the Big 12. Over his career at Oak State, Ford compiled a record of 155-111 and claims one NCAA Tournament victory so to say you didn't kind of see this coming would be foolish.

Remember the days when people wanted Travis to take over after the whole Billy G. fiasco? Man, I'm glad some didn't get their wish on that one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jamal Murray Named To USBWA Freshman All-America Team



Clearly one of the best freshman and one of the most prolific scorers in the country, freshman guard Jamal Murray was named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Freshman All-America Team on Wednesday. 

Murray joined California’s Jaylen Brown, Marquette’s Henry Ellenson, Duke’s Brandon Ingram and LSU’s Ben Simmons on the team.

Last week, Murray was named to the Sporting News Freshman All-America Team.

The USBWA Freshman All-America Team was voted on by members of the USBWA, which is comprised of more than 900 sportswriters and sports journalists who cover college basketball for newspapers, magazines and websites.

Murray’s postseason honors list continues to lengthen by the day. Among the honors he’s been recognized for already:

·         All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP) 
·         SEC All-Freshman Team (Coaches)
·         USA Today All-America Second Team
·         Scout.com All-America Second Team 
·         USBWA Freshman All-America Team
·         Sporting News Freshman All-America Team
·         USBWA All-District IV Team
·         Wayman Tisdale finalist

ABOUT MURRAY: Murray has been one of the nation’s best scorers all season long and led the league with five SEC Weekly honors. He currently leads the Wildcats in scoring at 20.1 points per game, which, if the season ended today, would be the highest individual scoring average at Kentucky in the John Calipari era.

With 685 points this season, he already owns the school’s freshman single-season scoring record surpassing Brandon Knight (657 points in 2010-11). He’s posted three 30-point games this season, two of which came against league competition. The three 30-point games are the most by a freshman in school history, and his 35 points vs. Florida tied Terrence Jones (Jan. 11, 2011 vs. Auburn) for the school record single-game scoring mark by a freshman. It also tied Jones for the most points in a single game in the Calipari era.
Murray is the first Wildcat to reach double figures in 32 straight games since Jodie Meeks did it 32 times in 2008-09. He racked up a 12-game streak of scoring 20 points or more matching the longest such streak for any UK player since Kevin Grevey topped 20 or more points in 12 straight games in 1974-75.

Having hit a 3-pointer in every game this season, Murray owns the UK freshman record for most 3-point field goals in a single season with 110, surpassing Knight’s previous record of 87. His 110 made 3-pointers are already second on the UK single-season 3-point field goal list and the most of any freshman in the history of the SEC. Entering the NCAA Tournament, he has a shot at breaking Stephen Curry’s NCAA freshman record for 3-point field goals in a season (122).