Boys Basketball: Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis named to McDonald’s All-American Game
By Michael O’Brien firstname.lastname@example.org January 29, 2014 8:46PM
Marian Catholic's Tyler Ulis looks to move into the inside against Etiwanda. | Patrick Gleason/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 4:20PM
Young’s Jahlil Okafor and Curie’s Cliff Alexander were shoo-in selections for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis had to wait it out, but in the end he was selected, giving area fans three excellent reasons to check out the prestigious all-star game April 2 at the United Center.
“Me and (fellow Kentucky commit Devin Booker) have been stressing a lot about it,” Ulis said. “I was talking to (Okafor, Tuesday night) about maybe playing together on the team. I’m thrilled. It’s a great opportunity.”
Okafor advised Ulis not to get too caught up in whether or not he was selected.
“(Okafor) said not to think about it too much, that it was out of my control,” Ulis said.
Ulis didn’t dare dream about being a selection his freshman and sophomore seasons. Even last year he thought his chances of playing in the game were slim.
“I told my mom that I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Ulis said. “But after the latest rankings came out I knew I was getting closer.”
The McDonald’s game practices are serious business, with NBA executives and scouts in attendance. Alexander and Okafor already are firmly on the NBA radar, but this could be a major opportunity for Ulis.
“I hadn’t thought about that at all until (Booker) mentioned it a couple days ago that NBA scouts will be there,” Ulis said. “You can’t be messing around at those practices, you have to work hard and show them what you can do.”
Ulis has been battling a sprained wrist the past few weeks. He knew that Marian Catholic’s game in Dayton two weeks ago, in front of the national evaluators, would play a large role in his chances to be selected for the game.
“When we went to Dayton people told me McDonald’s voters would be there,” Ulis said. “I knew I had to make sure to go out and be aggressive and not think about my wrist.”
Okafor and Ulis will play for the West Team, Alexander on the East. It’s the third possible time Alexander and Okafor could match up this season, but the only time that is guaranteed.
“It means so much more since the game is in Chicago,” Ulis said. “I’m sure all my friends and the entire team will be there. Everyone will be buying tickets.”