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Kentucky recruit impresses at Mustang Madness

By Daniel Paullingdpaulling@paducahsun.com

Tyler Ulis doesn't fit the mold of Kentucky's John Calipari-coached point guards.

John Wall was 6-feet, 4-inches and 195 pounds; Brandon Knight 6-3, 185; and Andrew Harrison 6-6, 215. But Ulis is a relative Lilliputian at 5-9 and 150 pounds, though he doesn't let his lack of size impact him.

"A lot of people are trying to knock me for my size, saying I'm too little to play at the next level," said Ulis, who signed with the Wildcats in September as 247Sports' No. 35 Class of 2014 recruit. "I need to prove I can play at this level. A lot of people are seeing me for the first time and seeing what I can bring to the table. Once they see me play, hopefully they'll change their mind."

Wildcats fans at Mustang Madness at McCracken County High School on Saturday saw plenty to enjoy. Ulis finished with 14 points, 10 assists and six steals in just 21 minutes, leading Marian Catholic (Ill.) to an 80-63 win against Lausanne Collegiate (Tenn.).

He was limited by what he described as a sprained right wrist, though he said the pain went away as the game progressed. He hasn't visited a doctor since injuring the wrist earlier this month.

Ulis is part of what many recruiting services rate as yet another elite class. Joining him are No. 7 Karl Towns Jr., No. 10 Trey Lyles and No. 26 Devin Booker. 247Sports ranked the Wildcats' class second behind Duke's.

"I believe we're the best recruiting class in the country," Ulis said. "Devin is the best shooter in the country. Karl and Trey are two of the best post players in the country. That's going to be great."

But being a top recruiting class doesn't always translate to a great season. The Wildcats' Class of 2013 was ranked No. 1 and was considered among the best ever, leaving some fans thinking of a perfect season. But they've gone 12-3 with a loss to unranked North Carolina.

"It was a little shaky," Ulis said. "They were new to the game. But now it seems they're getting in the groove of the game. We got to just not come in thinking we're too good. We have to know we're freshmen. We have to know these guys are bigger, older and strong. We have to come in and work hard and play together."

After his game, he spent several minutes posing for pictures with fans and signing autographs.

"I'm not used to it yet," he said. "But as everybody's telling me, I need to get used to it going to Kentucky."

Bragg on UK's radar

for 2015

After Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 71-62 on Saturday afternoon, Calipari arrived at Mustang Madness in time to watch Class of 2015 recruit Carlton Bragg, a 6-foot-10 forward.

Bragg, 247Sports' No. 9 junior, has offers from Indiana, Kansas and Louisville. He said Wildcats assistant Orlando Antigua is waiting until this year's recruiting class is complete before worrying about next year's.

Bragg played well in Villa Angela St. Joseph's (Ohio) loss to Lyles' Arsenal Tech (Ind.). He finished with 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists before fouling out in the waning moments. He walked off to a standing ovation.

"I loved that," Bragg said. "It shows a lot of love right there. It was an amazing experience."

Bragg, who said he doesn't have an early favorite team and wouldn't narrow his choices until September, was playing in front of Calipari for the second time this month and matched up occasionally against Lyles. He had some strong words, both negative and positive, about the future Wildcat.

"He's an amazing defender," Bragg said. "Very strong. Very skilled, too. He's tough to guard. If he didn't play so lazy, he could be better than what he was."

Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.

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