Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield were unanimous selections to The Associated Press’ 2015-16 All-America team while Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis was third in the voting with 43 first-team votes from the panel of 65.
Ulis, a sophomore, was the only non-senior selected to the team, and at 5-9 is the shortest player named to the AP team since 5-9 Johnny O’Brien of Seattle in 1953.
Earlier Ulis had been named the AP Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and Tuesday he was also named an All-American by CBS Sports.
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.