Basketball: Tyler Ulis sparkles in McDonald’s All-American Jam Fest
By Michael O’Brien email@example.com March 31, 2014 9:58PM
Updated: May 2, 2014 6:36AM
Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis actually considered sitting out the McDonald’s All-American practice Sunday. He’s been nursing a bad case of turf toe for a few weeks.
“I told him he didn’t have to play on Sunday,” said Ulis’ father, James Ulis. “But he wanted to go ahead and do it. Tyler has a pretty high tolerance for pain.”
The Kentucky recruit played a significant amount of the season with a nagging wrist injury that he would never officially confirm or complain about.
“The doctors wanted him to rest (his toe) for a full month,” James Ulis said. “He ended up just having two weeks off. He didn’t want to miss this stuff.”
Ulis looked like his usual self at McDonald’s practice Monday morning, then went out and displayed his all-around game at the Jam Fest event at the University of Chicago later in the night. He was the only All-American to advance to the finals of both the skills competition and the three-point contest.
Ulis finished second to Duke recruit Tyus Jones in the skills competition, a course of dribbling, passing and shooting. Jones completed the course in 28.1 seconds, Ulis finished in 31.9.
Indiana recruit James Blackmon Jr. scored 23 points to win the three-point contest, he drained 18-of-25 shots. Ulis picked up another second place finish, scoring 20 points on 17-of-25 shooting.
Young’s Jahlil Okafor also competed in the skills competition, but was unable to advance to the finals after finishing last in the preliminary round. The 6-11 center had trouble knocking down the three-point shot.
The slam dunk contest is the premier event of the Jam Fest. Curie’s Cliff Alexander initially said he wasn’t going to participate, worried that he wasn’t a creative enough dunker to compete. He changed his mind Monday and joined the event.
Creativity wasn’t the issue for Alexander, who tried two unique dunks.
One involved Jones throwing the ball off the side of the end of the backboard. Alexander attempted to catch it and slam one-handed. He missed the first three attempts but then was able to throw it down when he tried with both hands.
The combination of all the misses followed by a less spectacular final dunk resulted in a low score of 49, not enough to send Alexander into the final round.
Ulis and Okafor will team up on the West Team in the McDonald’s All-American game on Wednesday at the United Center. Alexander will play on the East Team.