CHICAGO HEIGHTS | Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis made know Friday his choice for big-time college basketball in front of crowd of cheerleaders, cheering students plus a trio of Spartan mascots surrounding him.
“I’m going to Kentucky,” The Times 2013 Player of the Year told a packed house prior to Marian Catholic's football game with Carmel Catholic.
Ulis, who last year led the Marian Catholic basketball program-record 29 wins and its first sectional title, said he chose the Wildcats over Iowa, and Michigan State because he admires Kentucky's basketball program and head coach John Calipari.
“The coach has a record of developing good players,” said Ulis, adding that he liked the campus atmosphere when he visited Lexington.
“I think they will help me out, I will get to work hard every day. I think it’s the right place for me.”
Although Ulis admitted he had equal admiration for Iowa, and as recently as last week was leaning toward the Iowa City campus.
“I loved Iowa when I went there, but I think I made the right choice for me,” Ulis said.
Ulis plans to study business in addition to playing basketball at Kentucky.
He initially considered local schools such as DePaul.
“I thought about DePaul when I was first looking at colleges,” he said. ‘But once the major schools started coming in, I focused on them instead.”
Ulis was also an all-state selection. He averaged 21.9 points, 4.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game. He also set a Marian boys program single- and career-record for points scored with 693 and 1,612, respectively.
Ulis made his decision even before basketball practices officially begin for his senior year of high school, which he says will allow him to focus on the Spartans’ season.
“I’m looking forward to playing well and trying to do better than we did last year,” said Ulis, adding he was particularly looking forward to playing in a tournament in his native state of Ohio. “It will be good to travel back to my home state this year."