Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ulis and Murray Named To Naismith Trophy Midseason List



Making up arguably the nation’s best backcourt in the country, Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray have been named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason List by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Kentucky is one of just six players with two players on the midseason list.

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. 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.

The midseason list usually includes 30 players, but 35 are on this year’s list because of ties in the balloting.

Ulis, who was named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 list on Wednesday, has had a spectacular sophomore season in leading Kentucky to an 18-6 record and 8-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference. 

The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 16.2 points, a team-best 6.4 assists per game – which ranks second in the SEC – and boasts an SEC-best 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games, averaging 19.5 points and 7.3 assists while shooting 50.6 percent over that stretch.

The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.4 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State;) and the lone underclassman.

With 20 points and five assists at Tennessee, Ulis has posted 10 games this season with at least 20 points and at least five assists in the same game, the most by a Wildcat in any season since 1972-73.

Ulis’ value is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 21.7 points and a team-high 7.3 assists in UK’s three games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.5 percent with a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games.

He is also only the second player at UK since 1972-73 (the first year UK has full game-by-game assist numbers for) with have at least four assists in 17 consecutive games in a single season. Roger Harden also did it 17 times.

Murray is proving to be one of the most prolific scorers in the country. Averaging 18.5 points per game, he ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring and fifth nationally among all freshmen. If the season ended today, Murray would finish with the highest scoring average in the John Calipari era at Kentucky. Brandon Knight, in 2010-11, ended the season at 17.3 points per game.

The Kitchener, Ontario native is shooting 40.2 percent from behind the arc, seventh in the SEC, and is hitting 3.0 3-point field goals per game, ranked third in the league. He has made a 3-point field goal in all 24 games this season, the only player in program history to do that to start a career, and he’s the first UK player since Darius Miller (2010-11) to make a trey in 24 straight games.

Murray has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including 22 straight. The last player to score in double figures in that many consecutive games was Brandon Knight in 2010-11.

Among Murray’s biggest scoring outputs this season include a 35-point outing against Florida and a 33-point afternoon vs. Ohio State. His 35 points vs. Florida tied Terrence Jones (Jan. 11, 2011 vs. Auburn) for the single-game school record scoring mark by a freshman. It also tied Jones for the most points in a single game in the Calipari era. He’s the only freshman in school history with two 30-point games in a season.


Poythress Named Academic All-District



 Kentucky senior men’s basketball player Alex Poythress has been named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team and is eligible to earn Academic All-America honors. 

The CoSIDA Academic All-District teams recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. First Team Academic All-District honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot where First, Second, and Third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

Poythress’ honor is the first of his career. 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.

He has appeared on the SEC Academic Honor Roll during every year of college. He is also a two-time Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar and has been named to the Athletic Director’s honor roll three times, which honors the student-athlete with the highest GPA of his team.

In addition to the CoSIDA honor, Poythress was tabbed as one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award honoring students who excel on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

Poythress is averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game for the 18-6 Wildcats during his final season at Kentucky. He recently became just the 15th player in program history to amass more than 800 points, 500 rebounds and 70 blocks in his career.  

He has appeared in more than 100 career games and made 54 starts. Poythress’ career averages included 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.

Poythress is seeking to become the first Kentucky men’s basketball player since Mark Pope in 1995 to earn Academic All-America honors. Pope was a third-team selection that season. Kentucky has garnered 12 all-time honors by 10 different players since 1966. Former greats Louie Dampier and Bob Guyette are two-time Academic All-Americans.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Some Notes From Last Nights Pounding Of Georgia

Kentucky Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
Georgia at No. 22/21 Kentucky
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Feb. 9, 2016
Attendance: 22,136

Final Score: Kentucky 82, Georgia 48
Team Records and Series Notes
  • Kentucky is now 18-6 on the season, 8-3 in Southeastern Conference action. Georgia is 13-9 overall, 6-5 in league play. 
  • Kentucky leads the all-time series 120-26 and has won five in a row.
  • Next for the Wildcats: UK plays at South Carolina on Saturday at noon. 

In the First Half
  • Kentucky started with the lineup of Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Derek Willis and Marcus Lee for the second straight game.
  • Willis broke a 4-4 tie with a 3-pointer, extending Kentucky’s streak of 963 consecutive games with at least one long ball, and giving the Wildcats a lead they never relinquished.
  • UK scored on 10 of its first 13 possessions en route to a 24-13 lead in the first eight minutes.
  • The Bulldogs moved within 24-18 as the Wildcats went cold, not scoring for more than six minutes until a Skal Labissiere follow dunk. 
  • Georgia went the last 13 ½ minutes of the half without a field goal, missing its last 17 shots of the opening period, but staying in the game with free throws.
  • Ahead 28-22, UK closed the half on a 14-2 run for a 42-24 halftime lead.
  • Kentucky is now 16-3 when owning a halftime advantage. 

In the Second Half
  • Kentucky scored the first 10 points of the second half, extending its run to 24-2.
  • Georgia’s field goal drought continued until Charles Mann tallied a layup with 15:40 on the clock.  Georgia went 17:57 between field goals, missing 22 shots in that span.

Team Notes
  • UK limited Georgia to 48 points, the Wildcats’ best defensive performance of the season. 
    • UK is 129-5 (.963) under Calipari when holding the opponent to 63 or fewer points. 
    • UK is 62-0 under Coach Cal when limiting opponents to 55 or fewer.
  • Georgia shot 22 percent from the field. The last time UK held an opponent under 30 percent was vs. West Virginia (24.1 percent) in the 2015 NCAA Tournament. 
  • Kentucky shot 51.8 percent from the field.  It is the 13th time this season, and fifth time in the last six games, that the Wildcats have made at least 50 percent from the field.
  • Kentucky had only seven turnovers, just one shy of its season low. UK won points off TOs 15-2.
  • Calipari has a 653-184 (.780) all-time record, including a 208-44 (.825) mark at Kentucky.
  • Calipari is 116-4 (.967) in Rupp Arena. Calipari has the two longest win streaks in Rupp Arena history – 54 and the current streak of 34.

Player Notes  
  • Freshman Jamal Murray had 24 points, including 6-of-10 on 3-point shots.
    • It is his ninth game this season with at least 20 points.
    • It is his 22nd consecutive double-figure scoring game.
    • He has made at least one 3-point shot in every game this season, the first player in program history to make a triple in each of his first 24 collegiate games.
    • His 24 consecutive games with a made 3-pointer are the most since Darius Miller made at least one from long range in 25 consecutive games during the 2010-11 season.
  • Sophomore Tyler Ulis had 14 points and eight assists.
    • He is the first Wildcat with at least four assists in 17 consecutive games since Roger Harden had 17 straight games in the 1985-86 season.
  • Junior Derek Willis notched 11 points. It is his eighth double-figure scoring game of the season.
  • Junior Marcus Lee had four points and two rebounds. 
    • Lee made both field goal attempts tonight and is 7-on-7 over the last four games.
  • Freshman Skal Labissiere had six points and led the Wildcats with seven rebounds. It is the first time this season he has led the team in rebounding.

Tyler Ulis Named To Late Season Wooden Award Top 20 List



Kentucky men’s basketball sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis is one of 20 players on the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 list, announced Wednesday by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The Wooden Award is presented annually to the top player in college basketball.

The players on the list are considered strong candidates for Wooden Award, though a player does not have to be on the preseason, midseason or late season list to win the award. Fifteen top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA will be submitted to the voters on the ballot prior to the NCAA Tournament.

Voters are permitted to take into consideration the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament when casting the ballot. The 10-man Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced the week of the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament, and the 40th annual presentation of the award will be the anchor presentation of the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show, which will take place the weekend of April 7-9.

Ulis has had a spectacular sophomore season in leading Kentucky to an 18-6 record and 8-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference. He’s one of two SEC players on the list.

The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 16.2 points, a team-best 6.4 assists per game – which ranks second in the SEC – and boasts an SEC-best 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games, averaging 19.5 points and 7.3 assists while shooting 50.6 percent over that stretch.

The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.4 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State;) and the lone underclassman.

With 20 points and five assists at Tennessee, Ulis has posted 10 games this season with at least 20 points and at least five assists in the same game, the most by a Wildcat in any season since 1972-73.

Ulis’ value is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 21.7 points and a team-high 7.3 assists in UK’s three games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.5 percent with a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games.

He is also only the second player at UK since 1972-73 (the first year UK has full game-by-game assist numbers for) with have at least four assists in 17 consecutive games in a single season. Roger Harden also did it 17 times.

Created in 1976, the Wooden Award is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation while maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. The unique Wooden Award trophy is presented to a man and woman each year. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (‘79), Michael Jordan (‘84), Tim Duncan (‘97), Candace Parker (‘07 and ‘08), Kevin Durant (‘09), Maya Moore (‘09 and ‘11), Trey Burke (‘13) and Doug McDermott (‘14).

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tyler Ulis Named Finalist For Bob Cousy Award




Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis has been named one of 10 finalists for the 2016 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Named after Hall of Fame guard Bob Cousy, the annual honor recognizes the top point guard in Division I men’s basketball.

A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the initial watch list of 20 candidates in October. The final five finalists will be presented to Cousy and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee in March, and the winner will be presented at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 8.

Ulis is looking to become the first Kentucky guard to win the award. So far he has the credentials to warrant the honor.

Standing at just 5-foot-9, Ulis has been one of the top players in the country this season, leading Kentucky to a 16-5 record with wins over nationally ranked Duke and Louisville.

Ulis is averaging 16.1 points and a team-best 6.2 assists per game, which ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. He’s now scored 20 or more points in four straight games and eight of his last 10, averaging 20.1 points and 7.1 assists while shooting 51.1 percent over the 10-game stretch.

The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging 16.0 points and 6.0 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State) and the lone underclassman.

With a career-high 26 points and eight assists at No. 4/3 Kansas on Saturday, Ulis has posted nine games this season with at least 20 points and at least five assists in the same game, the most by a Wildcat in any season since 1972-73.

Ulis’ value is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 21.7 points and a team-high 7.3 assists in UK’s three games vs. ranked opponents.  He shot 54.5 percent with a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games. 

Among the accomplishments Ulis has achieved this season:

·         He’s the third player at UK since 1972-73 – and the first since Roger Harden in 1985-86 – with at least four assists in 14 consecutive games in a season
·         He’s the first UK player with 26 points and eight assists in a game since Jack Givens posted 27 points and eight assists vs. Auburn on Feb. 23, 1976
·         He needed just 17 games to top 100 assists in a season, the sixth-fastest pace in program history for 100 or more assists in a single year

Ulis is already a two-time winner of the SEC Player of the Week award and is on the midseason watch lists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, each given to the national player of the year.

2016 Bob Cousy Award Finalists:Kyle Collinsworth, Brigham Young University
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Monte Morris, Iowa State
Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
Melo Trimble, Maryland
Demetrius Jackson, Notre Dame
Khalil Felder, Oakland
Gary Payton, Jr., Oregon State
Kris Dunn, Providence 
Nic Moore, Southern Methodist

Ulis and the Wildcats return to action Tuesday night at Tennessee. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tip on ESPN.


Sunday, January 31, 2016

Some Notes From Last Nights Loss At Kansas

Kentucky Men’s Basketball Postgame Notes
No. 20/19 Kentucky at No. 4/3 Kansas
Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kan.
Jan. 30, 2016
Attendance: 16,300

Final Score: Kansas 90, Kentucky 84
Team Records and Series Notes
  • Kentucky is now 16-5 on the season. Kansas is 17-4. 
    • Kentucky is 0-1 in overtime games.
  • Kentucky leads the all-time series 22-6
    • Kansas has a four-game winning streak in Lawrence. UK last won in Lawrence on Dec. 31, 1984.
    • Kansas snapped UK’s three-game winning streak in the series.
  • Kansas has won 35 games in a row inside Allen Fieldhouse.
  • Next for the Wildcats: UK travels to Tennessee on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and it will air on ESPN.

In the First Half
  • Kentucky started with the lineup of Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Derek Willis and Alex Poythress for the fourth game in a row.
  • Kentucky led by six at halftime as they closed the half on an 8-2 run over the final 2:16.
  • Kentucky is now 14-2 when owning a halftime advantage. 

In the Second Half
  • Kentucky scored the first basket of the second half and took its largest lead of the game at 48-40 at the 19:39 mark.

In overtime
  • Kansas started overtime on an 8-2 run.
  • Kansas opened up a nine-point lead, 88-79, with 25 seconds remaining. It was the largest lead of the game for either team.

Team Notes
  • Kentucky’s 88 points tied the season high set on Dec. 9 vs. Eastern Kentucky.
  • Kansas scored 90 points, the most by a UK opponent this year. UK is 0-3 this year when allowing 80-plus points. UK has allowed 74-plus points in all five losses.
  • Kentucky scored 84 points, its fourth most in a game this year and most in a loss.
  • Kentucky committed a season-high 33 fouls.
  • Kansas made 30 free throws on 47 attempts, both were the most by UK opponent this year.
  • Kentucky had four players foul out for the first time since Dec. 4, 2010 at North Carolina.
  • Kentucky shot 53.2 percent from the field, UK has shot over 50 percent in three straight. UK is 10-1 this season when shooting at least 50 percent.
  • Kansas won the rebounding 42-31. UK is 1-4 this year when finishing the game at a rebounding deficit.
    • Kentucky grabbed 31 rebounds, the second fewest in a game this year (29 vs. Louisville).
  • Kansas shot .417 (8-17) from 3-point range. That’s the second most by a UK opponent this year (Ohio State .500, 9-18).
  • Kentucky extended its streak to 960 consecutive games with at least one 3-point basket.
  • Calipari has a 651-183 (.781) all-time record, including a 206-42 (.824) mark at Kentucky.

Player Notes  
  • Sophomore Tyler Ulis led UK with a career-high 26 points. He added eight assists.
    • It was Ulis’ ninth 20-point, five-assist game this season, the most at UK since at least 1972-73.
    • He is the first Wildcat with at least four assists in 14 consecutive games since Sean Woods in the 1990-91 season.
    • Ulis has nine games with at least 20 points and five assists this season, most by a Wildcat in any season with assist statistics available since 1972-73.  Kyle Macy had seven 20/5 games in 1979-80 and Jamal Mashburn had seven 20/5 games in 1992-93.
    • He made a career-high 11 field goals, on a career-high 19 attempts.
    • He played a career-high 45 minutes.
  • Senior Alex Poythress scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds. He added two steals, one block and an assist.
    • He tied his career-high with two steals.
    • He played a season-high 37 minutes. 
  • Freshman Isaiah Briscoe notched 12 points, four rebounds and five assists. He has reached double-figure scoring 12 times.
    • He made a career-high six free throws, on a career-high 12 attempts.
    • He played a career-high 38 minutes.
  • Freshman Jamal Murray had 15 points, his 19th consecutive double-figure game.
    • He has made at least one 3-point shot in every game this season, the first player in program history to make a triple in each of his first 21 collegiate games.
    • He tied his career-high playing 39 minutes.
  • Junior Derek Willis had six points and grabbed five rebounds.
    • He had a game-high three steals, a new career high.
    • Willis was 1 of 2 from the free-throw line. He missed free throw for the first time this year and is now 17 of 18 at the foul line this season.