High School: Recruiting

Marian Catholic senior point guard Tyler Ulis named Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State and USC as his four finalists on Thursday, according to his father.

Ulis, a 5-foot-9 point guard from Matteson, Ill., is ranked No. 38 overall and the No. 8 point guard in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. He eliminated DePaul, Florida State, Northwestern and Purdue from the schools he was considering.

[+] EnlargeTyler Ulis
AP Photo/Damen Jackson/Triple Play New Media

DePaul, Florida State, Northwestern and Purdue are out for point guard Tyler Ulis, who has narrowed his prospective college choices to Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State and USC.

“It’s been a long time coming for him,” Ulis’ father, James Ulis, said in a phone interview on Thursday night. “He always felt like he could play at this level. It’s nice for him to be rewarded and people can see it.”

Ulis holds offers from Iowa, Michigan State and USC, but not from Kentucky. James said Kentucky coach John Calipari has expressed interest in Ulis and believes an offer could be coming.

“There’s mutual interest,” James said. “We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Coach Calipari, and they basically said Tyler is a great point guard, great leader and they would love to give him an opportunity to run their program. Coach Cal wants to get to know Tyler and us to get to know him.”

Kentucky made the list because of its recent successes, James Ulis said.

“John Calipari has produced the most point guards in recent years and has taken them right to the NBA,” he said. “He obviously knows how to coach point guards. He knows how to put them in positions to lead the team. He’s a tough coach. There’s accountability from Day 1 to win and win at a high level.”

While Kentucky is the newest suitor of Ulis, Iowa has been on him the longest.

“What I love about [Iowa coach Fran McCaffery] is from the beginning he clearly stated Tyler was the point guard to lead his team,” James said. “What is being said about Ty now is what Fran said about him last year. We also like the offense that Fran runs, and Fran is just a great guy. Tyler will get an opportunity to play the style he wants to play.”

Style also factored in Ulis’ decision to keep USC on his list. Ulis was attracted by the fast-paced game USC coach Andy Enfield used while previously at Florida Gulf Coast.

“Tyler really loves his offense, that open style of game -- pass, run-and-gun and open space,” James said. “They get up and down the court. They get after it. He’s coached in the NBA and obviously has some shooting videos out. He’s a great shooting coach. I think for Ty to go to the next level he has to knock down the 3 consistently.”

Michigan State also made the cut for a variety of reasons.

“Michigan State, obviously the tradition at point guard; I’m a big Magic Johnson fan,” James said. “They’ve won. They’re had success. You want your kid to play for Coach [Tom] Izzo. They always get some really good players. Obviously the family tie, [Tyler’s cousin] Travis Walton played there.”

James said no in-state schools made his son’s final list because the other schools were better fits. DePaul and Northwestern had been recruiting Ulis, and his family created relationships with DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and Northwestern coach Chris Collins. The family also recently heard from Illinois, but James said it was too late in the process to consider Illinois.

“Illinois recently reached out to us concerning Tyler,” James said. “It would be tough to go that direction because they were going another direction before. We respect that. I didn’t know the reason they hadn’t approached Tyler [previously]. We were told they weren’t going to recruit another point guard in 2014. Once Tyler did what he did [on the club travel scene], Coach [John] Groce reached out.”

James said his son plans to set up official visits in September and decide on a school before the early signing period in November.

Final 2013 ESPN 100 player rankings

May, 1, 2013
5/01/13
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Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Julius Randle remain on top of the final ESPN 100 for the Class of 2013.

See the final rankings here.

BlueChipBattles: Hoops, April 25 edition

April, 25, 2013
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Allerik FreemanCourtesy of Andrew Shurtleff

With word that shooting guard Allerik Freeman has asked for his release from UCLA, the nation’s No. 65 senior prospect may soon join Andrew Wiggins as the only uncommitted ESPN 100 prospects. Also, coaches begin to put in serious face time with the nation’s top junior recruits.

Read the entire story here.

Jackie Kemph building her legend

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
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Jackie KemphCourtesy Jim VanAntwerpJackie Kemph averaged 20 points, 7.6 assists, and 3.3 steals for Rolling Meadows (Ill.) as a junior.

Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) had been paired with Rolling Meadows (Ill.) at the McDonald’s Shootout because the two girls’ basketball teams played the same vertical game, with the same emphasis on taking the best shot available as early in the shot clock as possible. They were two of the highest-scoring teams in the state of Illinois, largely due to pace and, in Rolling Meadows’ case, the point guard who pushes it.

Fenwick entered that high-profile game with two goals: mitigate Rolling Meadows’ height and stop Jackie Kemph. The former went all right. The latter did not.

Rolling Meadows’ junior point guard went for 38 points on 23 shots, shredding Fenwick doubles and full-court traps in an 87-83 victory. She also dished seven assists. To celebrate her career night and an important win over a fellow suburban Chicago power, she walked into the locker room after the game and vomited.

“That was Jackie just refusing to lose,” said Jenny Vliet, a Division I talent who’s been playing by Kemph’s side since the two were in fifth grade. “She was really not feeling well, but if she hadn’t told me I never would have known. Her intensity that game was what pulled us through.”

Read the entire story here.

Big matchups highlight Jordan Classic

February, 12, 2013
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There’s no arguing the quality of this year’s Jordan Brand Classic rosters, which were announced on Tuesday. The game is stocked with 22 players, and that means some of the fat has been trimmed off the event.

Read the entire story here.
No. 2 senior Jabari Parker and No. 2 junior Jahlil Okafor, whose teams met in a highly anticipated Chicago showdown over the weekend, have different games but share many of the same intangibles that make them successful.

Read the entire story here.

Dave Telep updates his impressions of top players and teams in the aftermath of the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.

Video: Parker previews W. Young game

January, 22, 2013
1/22/13
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No. 2 senior and Duke commit Jabari Parker talks to Phil Murphy after a big night against Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). Parker discusses how Simeon can stay hot on national television Saturday against crosstown rival Whitney Young.

Laquon Treadwell deciding Thursday

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
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Crete-Monee (Ill.) senior Laquon Treadwell, the nation's top wide receiver recruit, will announce his college decision at his school Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Treadwell will choose between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Mississippi. He's already made official visits to Oklahoma and Ole Miss and is visiting Oklahoma State this weekend.

Read the entire story.

HS hoops on TV: Players to watch

January, 4, 2013
1/04/13
3:21
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Dakari Johnson/Jabari Parker/Kasey HillUS Presswire/Getty Images

The Cancer Research Classic, held this weekend in Wheeling, W.Va., is an up-and-coming event with a tremendous amount of talent from a variety of high school teams across the country. And two of the premier games from the event will be televised live on ESPN networks Saturday night.

No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) will take on No. 12 Chicago Simeon at 6 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. That matchup will be followed by Gonzaga (D.C.) against Salesian (Calif.) at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN.

The two televised games feature a ton of elite talent in the 2013 class, led by No. 2 overall prospect Jabari Parker (Duke), No. 2 point guard Kasey Hill (Florida), No. 1 center Dakari Johnson (uncommitted) and No. 23 overall recruit Jabari Bird (Cal). But there will also be elite underclassmen on display, as well as recruits for Villanova, Illinois and Dayton.

In fact, all four teams feature multiple Division I prospects. So with that in mind, here are 10 players to watch on Saturday night when you tune into ESPN2, ESPNU or WatchESPN.

Read about individual players to watch here.

Battle of the nation's best centers 

December, 21, 2012
12/21/12
5:57
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Take the nation’s highest-rated center from the Class of 2013 and match him against the best from the Class of 2014 class and I’m in. No matter the place, and apparently with no concern for the time.

The matchup between Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) and Dakari Johnson (New York, N.Y./Montverde Academy) at the City of Palms Classic didn't tip until 11:02 p.m. ET Thursday night. I walked out of the gym at 12:49 a.m. Friday.

In retrospect, it was all worth it.

Read the entire story.

Chantel Jennings catches up with Shelby Spence, a 2014 quarterback prospect from De La Salle (Chicago) who still awaits his first scholarship offer.

The nation's no. 2 overall player, Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon), talks about what he's looking for in a school and when he anticipates making a decision.

WeAreSC: Ty Isaac Interview

November, 14, 2012
11/14/12
12:19
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video
Chantel Jennings catches up with running back Ty Isaac, a USC commit, as Joliet (Ill.) closes in on a state title. Isaac is ranked No. 70 in the ESPN 150.

New ESPN 300: Midwest Region

November, 7, 2012
11/07/12
5:28
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ESPN recruiting coordinator Jared Shanker breaks down movements in the ESPN 300 player rankings in the Midwest.

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