Kentucky forward Marcus Lee (00), guard Tyler Ulis (3), forward Derek Willis (35) and guard Jamal Murray (23) walk onto the court after a timeout during the second half of game against Tennessee. Tennessee won 84-77. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
BIRMINGHAM, AL (FOX19) -
Tyler Ulis cleaned up the SEC awards.
The UK point guard was named SEC player of the year and defensive player of the year just days before UK begins it's post-season tournaments.
"It's a great honor to be acknowledged for that award," said Ulis. "Especially, the defensive award. I didn't know I was going to win that and I didn't people recognized me defensively, but I couldn't be here without the team. The more games you win, the more awards you get."
At 5-foot-9, Ulis is the shortest player in the history of the award to win SEC player of the year. Playing more minutes than any player in the conference, Ulis averaged more than 16 points and seven assists for the SEC co-champions.
"It proves that I wasn't too small to play college basketball," Ulis added with a smile.
Freshman sharpshooter Jamal Murray joined Ulis on the All-SEC first team while also earning All-SEC freshman team honors.
"I'm proud to know where I've come from and how far it's taken to get to this point," said Murray. "I'm just focused on what's next and the game we have ahead."
Murray has been one of the nation’s best scorers all season long and currently leads the Wildcats in scoring at 20 points per game, which, if the season ended today, would be the highest scoring average at Kentucky in the Calipari era.
With 619 points this season, he trails only Brandon Knight (657 points in 2010-11) for the most points by a freshman in school history. He’s posted three 30-point games this season two of which came against league competition.
Having hit a 3-pointer in every game this season, Murray owns the UK freshman record for most 3-point field goals in a single season with 99, surpassing Knight’s previous record of 87.
Ulis, Murray 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.