Tag: Tyler Ulis


Kentucky’s Alex Poythress hopes to be cleared by the end of August

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As John Calipari told Heather Cox of ESPN on Thursday night at the 2015 NBA Draft in Brooklyn, Kentucky’s 2014-15 season officially ended that night.

As the focus shifts to another talented team in Lexington, one of the questions heading into next season is the status of senior forward Alex Poythress. The 6-foot-8 Poythress started the first eight games of the season, but was sidelined for the remainder of the year after tearing the ACL in his left knee during a mid-December practice.

Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal received an update from Poythress’ progress on Friday afternoon at Rajon Rondo’s annual Camp Rondo.

On his health and if he’ll be 100 percent by the start of the season

Yeah, close. They’re trying to say I’ll probably be cleared by the end of August probably, so I’ll just keep on doing my rehab, keep on doing what I need to do and trying to get healthy and trying to get back out there.

On how much he’s able to do right now

I’m doing all the lifting and conditioning with the team. I’m not playing with them, but I am running on the track with them, doing footwork drills with them.

Poythress averaged 5.5 points and 3.8 rebounds per game in his shortened junior season.

This has been an eventful week for the Kentucky program. On Wednesday evening, top-15 recruit Jamal Murray committed to Kentucky, a huge score for a program that saw seven players declare for the draft less than three months earlier. Speaking of the NBA Draft, four Wildcats were selected within the first 13 picks — six in all — during Thursday’s draft.

Poythress, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee will be joined by the incoming class of Murray, Isaiah Briscoe, Charles Matthews and Skal Labissiere, the top-rated player in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals. The Wildcats are ranked No. 3 in College Basketball Talk‘s Way-Too-Early Preseason Rankings.

Top-ranked Kentucky moves to 32-0 with SEC tournament win over Florida

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One year after Florida won all 18 of its SEC regular season games and the SEC tournament title, No. 1 Kentucky moved one step closer to accomplishing the same feat with a win over the Gators.

The Wildcats weren’t at their best offensively, shooting 37.5 percent from the field, but they limited Florida to 33.3 shooting in the second half as they went on to win 64-49 in Nashville. Florida, which trailed by four at the break and by five with 7:40 remaining, went more than five minutes without a point as Kentucky clamped down defensively and established a comfortable margin down the stretch.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Aaron Harrison scored 13 points apiece as Kentucky’s lone double-digit scorers, with Town adding a game-high 12 rebounds. Towns and Harrison combined to score 16 points, and point guards Andrew Harrison and Tyler Ulis combined for four assists and one turnover in the second half.

The Wildcats didn’t shoot much better from the field in the second half than they did in the first, making 39.1 percent of their attempts, but they did get to the foul line on a far more frequent basis. Kentucky shot 13-for-15 from the foul line in the second half, outscoring Florida by ten points in that department.

For Florida, which has struggled with inconsistency all season, to have a shot at beating Kentucky they needed their best players to be productive and that didn’t happen. Dorian Finney-Smith (four points) made two of his ten shots from the field, and Michael Frazier (two points on 0-for-4 shooting) struggled as well. What helped Florida hang around was the play of Eli Carter and Jon Horford, who finished with a combined 26 points on 12-for-20 shooting, but not getting solid afternoons from Finney-Smith and Frazier proved costly especially during the decisive scoring drought.

From an NCAA tournament seeding standpoint Kentucky won’t gain anything this weekend. They’ll still be the top overall seed, and geographically speaking their path to the Final Four looks to be one with stops in Louisville and Cleveland before getting to Indianapolis (provided they win, of course).

But there’s still the need to work towards getting better each day, and Friday’s win will give Kentucky plenty to look at when it comes to pinpointing where they need to improve with an eye towards a national title run.

No. 1 Kentucky moves to 29-0 with blowout win over No. 18 Arkansas

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No. 1 Kentucky has rolled through the majority of its games this season, with head coach John Calipari’s talented mix of freshmen (four of them, to be exact) and returnees who finished one game short of a national title last season establishing themselves as the clear favorites to win the national title. In No. 18 Arkansas, Kentucky was faced with their lone ranked opponent in SEC play, and it should also be noted that the Razorbacks won both meetings last season and held a three-game win streak in the series.

But none of that mattered at Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon, as Kentucky rolled to an 84-67 victory that wasn’t as close as the final margin would lead one to believe. The Wildcats, who shot just 5-for-17 from beyond the arc, outscored the Razorbacks 40-24 in the paint and made nearly 56 percent of their two-point shots.

That percentage inside of the arc may not be considered “elite,” but in Arkansas’ seven-game win streak prior to Saturday’s loss just one team managed to make at least 50 percent of their two-point shots (Missouri). Kentucky simply had too much skill, size and athleticism for the visitors, and while Mike Anderson’s team didn’t quit they were fighting upstream all afternoon.

Starters Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles scored 18 points apiece, and reserve guards Tyler Ulis (14) and Devin Booker (ten) combined to score 24 off the bench. Aaron Harrison may have shot just 2-for-11 from the field, but Kentucky has more than enough weapons to account for one player’s off afternoon.

Yet even with Kentucky’s offensive options, the biggest problem for Arkansas was the impact Kentucky had on the defensive end. The Wildcats limited the Razorbacks to 37.5% shooting from the field and 5-for-18 from beyond the arc, with both percentages well below Arkansas’s numbers for the season. And for a team that has utilized its depth well throughout the season, Arkansas received just seven points from its reserves.

Arkansas needed to produce its best showing of the season to have a shot at handing Kentucky its first loss of the season. That didn’t occur, and the Wildcats had a lot to do with that. The remainder of Kentucky’s opponents will face similar odds between now and the end of the season. And Saturday’s demolition was the latest piece of evidence that “putting it all together” against the Wildcats is far easier said than done.