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.

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