Friday, March 25, 2016

Ulis, Murray Named to NABC All-District 21 First Team; Kennedy Named Coach of the Year

Kentucky's Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray have been named to the NABC All-District 21 First Team.

Joining Ulis and Murray on the first team are LSU's Ben Simmons, Ole Miss' Stefan Moody and Florida's Dorian Finney-Smith.

Texas A&M's Billy Kennedy is the district coach of the year.

Here's a release from UK:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – With unprecedented seasons in the record books, it was never really a question whether Kentucky guards Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis would be recognized for their historic years. Friday they added another one to their growing list of postseason accolades as the duo was recognized on the National Association of Basketball Coaches District 21 First Team.

UK’s star backcourt was two members of a five-member first team. LSU’s Ben Simmons, Ole Miss’ Stefan Moody and Florida’s Dorian Finney-Smith were the other honorees.

The NABC’s All-District teams were selected and voted on by member coaches of the NABC.

Ulis and Murray are racking in the postseason awards after spectacular individual seasons that helped guide Kentucky to a 27-9 record overall, a share of the program’s 47th Southeastern Conference regular-season championship and UK’s 29th SEC Tournament title.

Ulis ended the season with 246 assists, setting the new single-season school record previously held by John Wall. Until the season’s final game, Ulis had a streak of 28 consecutive games with four or more assists, the longest streak in school history since at least 1972-73.

Among the honors Ulis has already received this postseason:

Naismith Trophy finalist
Sporting News All-America First Team
USBWA All-America Second Team
SEC Player of the Year (Coaches/AP)
SEC Tournament MVP
SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Coaches)
All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP)
SEC All-Defensive Team (Coaches)
USA Today All-America First Team
CBS Sports SEC Player of the Year
USBWA District IV Player of the Year
USBWA All-District IV Team
NABC District 21 First Team
Bob Cousy finalist
John R. Wooden Award finalist
USBWA Oscar Robertson finalist

About Mr. Fab-ULIS: Ulis finished the season averaging 17.3 points and an SEC-best 7.0 assists. Following his final game, he ranked seventh nationally in assists and sixth in the country with a 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

He was the only player in the SEC averaging at least 17.3 points and 7.0 assists or better. He was one of just four players in the nation (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State; Juan’ya Green, Hofstra) with those numbers and the lone underclassman entering this weekend’s action.

Ulis completed the year with the single-season school record for most 20-point, five-assist games with 14, 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 was probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He averaged a team-best 24.4 points and a team-high 7.6 assists in UK’s seven games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.2 percent with a 3.8 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider he played 291 of the possible 295 minutes in those games, including the entire 45 minutes of all three overtime contests.

Murray’s postseason honors list continues to lengthen by the day. Among the honors he’s been recognized for already:

All-SEC First Team (Coaches/AP)
SEC All-Freshman Team (Coaches)
USA Today All-America Second Team
Scout.com All-America Second Team
USBWA Freshman All-America Team
Sporting News Freshman All-America Team
USBWA All-District IV Team
NABC District 21 First Team
Wayman Tisdale finalist

ABOUT MURRAY: Murray was one of the nation’s best scorers all season long and led the league with five SEC Weekly honors. He led the Wildcats in scoring at 20.0 points per game, which is the highest individual scoring average at Kentucky in the John Calipari era.

With 720 points this season, he owns the school’s freshman single-season scoring record surpassing Brandon Knight (657 points in 2010-11). That mark is also good for eighth all-time among all players in UK history.

He posted three 30-point games this season, two of which came against league competition. The three 30-point games are the most by a freshman in school history, and his 35 points vs. Florida tied Terrence Jones (Jan. 11, 2011 vs. Auburn) for the school record single-game scoring mark by a freshman. It also tied Jones for the most points in a single game in the Calipari era.

Murray is the first Wildcat to reach double figures in 30 or more games since Jodie Meeks had a run of 32 times in 2008-09. Murray’s streak stretched to 34 straight games. He racked up a 12-game streak of scoring 20 points or more matching the longest such streak for any UK player since Kevin Grevey topped 20 or more points in 12 straight games in 1974-75.

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 113, surpassing Knight’s previous record of 87. His 113 made 3-pointers are second on the UK single-season 3-point field goal list and the most of any freshman in the history of the SEC. It’s also the second most of any freshman in NCAA history, trailing only Stephen Curry’s record of 122.

For the latest on the Kentucky men's basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and on the web at UKathletics.com.

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