Scout.com/Jeff Drummond

Kentucky Wildcats Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray on midseason watch list for Naismith Trophy

Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray have landed on the midseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy honoring the nation's top player.

The Wildcats were among 35 players nominated. UK was one of only six programs to have multiple players selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Ulis, who was also named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 list on Wednesday, is averaging 16.2 points and 6.4 assists with an SEC-best 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. He has scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games, shooting 51 percent during that stretch.

The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.4 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State) and the lone underclassman.

Murray is averaging 18.5 points per game, ranking fourth in the SEC and fifth nationally among all freshmen. At his current pace, the Ontario, Canada, native would finish with the highest scoring average during the John Calipari era at UK. Brandon Knight currently holds that mark at 17.3 points per game during the 2010-11 season.

The last two games have been particularly potent for Murray, who posted a career-high 35 points against Florida and 24 points against Georiga. He made 14 shots from 3-pooint range in the Cats' two wins.

Murray is the first player in program history to make a 3-point goal in each of his first 24 games as a Wildcat.

Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy is awarded annually to the women's and men's college basketball players of the year. First awarded in 1969 to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Naismith Trophy was sculpted by Marty C. Dawe of Atlanta and has become one of the most prestigious national honors awarded each year to the top women's and men's college basketball players in the nation.


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