SKOKIE, Ill. — Tyler Ulis looked more than ready for the SEC.
The McDonald’s All-American and Kentucky commit scored 42 points on 9 of 18 shooting to lead Marian Catholic to a 67-63 win over nonconference opponent Lake Forest at the McDonald’s City-Suburban Showdown at Niles West high school. Bruising 6-foot-7 junior forward Evan Boudreaux added 34 points in a strong effort for Lake Forest.
Ulis carried the Spartans to a gritty win, distributing to teammates, playing aggressive on-ball defense and of course, scoring the ball. To accompany his buckets, he added with five assists, five rebounds and three steals. Ulis stepped up majorly after a relatively quiet first half, dropping in 34 of his points after the break.
In one of the best offensive performances of his high school career, the 5-foot-9 senior point guard looked like he could start for the Wildcats right now. However, there’s a chance he’ll show up in Lexington in the middle of a position battle.
With highly regarded Kentucky freshmen guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison no longer shoo-ins to go high in June’s NBA draft, there’s been talk of one or both of the twins remaining in school for their sophomore seasons. That would likely put a dent in any plans for Ulis to start right away.
“I haven’t really thought about that,” said Ulis, who added that he hasn’t spoken to either Harrison regarding their plans. “I’m just focusing on my senior year. Coach [John Calipari] told me from the beginning I’d have to come in and earn my spot, he’s not giving anyone anything. It’s Kentucky, so you have to come in and work hard regardless.”
He’s grown tight with the other players in the Wildcats’ incoming class, however, and the group are counting down the minutes until they arrive on campus. Kentucky will undoubtedly be a run watch when Ulis, an extremely gifted passer, takes the reins. He’ll have plenty of weapons at his disposal whenever that happens.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “Me and Devin [Booker] are really close. We talk with Trey [Lyles] and Karl [Towns] a lot. They’re great guys and great players, and I can’t wait to get out there.”