SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis has been named one of five 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.
Ulis’ competition includes Yogi Ferrell of Indiana, Monte Morris from Iowa State, Oakland’s Kahlil Felder and Kris Dunn of Providence.
A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the initial watch list of 20 candidates in October, trimmed it down to 10 in February and now named the final five finalists in March. The annual honor, which is now in its 13th season, will be presented to the winner at the ESPN College Basketball Awards Show in Los Angeles on April 8.
The winner of the Cousy Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit HoophallAwards.com to cast their votes March 11-25.
Previous winners of the Bob Cousy Award include Delon Wright, Utah (2015); Shabazz Napier, Connecticut (2014); Trey Burke, Michigan (2013); Kendall Marshall, North Carolina (2012); Kemba Walker, Connecticut (2011); Greivis Vasquez, Maryland (2010); Ty Lawson, North Carolina (2009); DJ Augustin, Texas (2008); Acie Law, Texas A&M (2007); Dee Brown, Illinois (2006); Raymond Felton, North Carolina (2005. and Jameer Nelson, St. Joseph’s (2004).
Ulis is looking to become the first Kentucky guard to win the award.
Already a three-time winner of the Southeastern Conference Player of the Week award and a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, Ulis has become one of the unquestionable top players in college basketball, regardless of position.
Ulis is averaging 16.6 points, an SEC-best 7.4 assists (sixth nationally) and a league-best 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio (fifth nationally). He’s dished out 10 or more assists in six of his last nine games and scored 20 or more points in 11 of his last 20 games.
The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging at least 16.6 points and 7.4 assists or better. He is one of just four players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State) and the lone underclassman.
He has the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 12, 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 is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 22.8 points and a team-high 9.0 assists in UK’s five games vs. ranked opponents in either the Associated Press Top 25 or the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. He shot 54.3 percent with a 5.0 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games.
Already third on the school’s single-season assists list with 221 dimes, he’s on pace to break John Wall’s single season record of 241 assists set in 2009-10. He is the only player with 24 consecutive games with four or more assists since at least 1972-73.
Ulis and the Wildcats earned a double bye in the SEC Tournament and won’t play until the quarterfinals on Friday. UK will play the winner of the Alabama-Ole Miss game on Friday at 7 p.m. ET in Nashville, Tenn., on the SEC Network.