So here’s a quick lesson on how to get a major Division I basketball scholarship.
Of course, in this sport it’s important to be very tall.
Isn’t that true, Kentucky-bound Tyler Ulis?
“I’m 5-foot-9,’’ Ulis said. “Or 5-10 on a good day.”
Well, there goes that theory.
Ulis and his twice-beaten Marian Catholic teammates were in Mundelein on Friday night to battle the best Carmel squad in a generation. And for one half, it was anyone’s game as Marian (22-2) led 30-28 at the break.
Then Marian hit five 3-pointers in the third quarter and ran off with a comfortable 66-50 ESCC victory.
As for that Division I player, Ulis had five 3-pointers. He sat and watched the fourth quarter on the bench after a 26-point effort.
“We turned it on defensively,’’ Ulis said. “We hit some big shots early in that third quarter and got the lead.”
Charged with slowing down this special player was sophomore Christopher Duff. He helped out the Carmel offense with 10 points.
“He’s just a really good player,’’ Duff said of Ulis. “He hit a lot of shots. I tried to do my best to contain him. I wanted to force the other guys to shoot. But that’s an All-American right there.”
Duff was right in the middle of the action as the second quarter opened up. He caught a long pass and then banked it off the board for a quick score while being fouled.
On a drive to the hoop by Carmel big man Jack George (20 points), the Corsairs (22-7) looked in good shape up 22-16 halfway through the second quarter.
“I felt pretty good at halftime,’’ said Carmel coach Tim Bowen. “But they put the pressure on us, and that’s good defense.”
Marian Catholic opened the second half on a 14-4 run and never let the Corsairs back in the game. The Spartans closed the third quarter after hitting 5 of their 10 3-pointers. By this time, the visitors’ lead was 57-42 after the teams combined for 42 points in the third quarter.
The final quarter looked the exact opposite as both clubs added just 17 points to their totals.
Still for a Carmel program that hasn’t made a postseason run of significance since 1984, this Corsairs season is something to savor.
“I got lucky here,’’ Bowen said. “We have a good staff and good fans. This school is a good place to be. We have kids who care. Sure, it’s taken a lot of time and effort.”
For Ulis as well, there has also been plenty of hard work — and it’s paying off.
“I get up at 5 a.m. to work with my dad and my trainer,’’ Ulis said.
Bowen noted that there is plenty of admire in this senior’s game.
“He’s lightning-quick,’’ Bowen said. “He has good ball handling skills. He
can shoot left and right. He can get to the basket. He’s a pretty darn good ballplayer.”
Duff still thinks his club can make some noise the rest of the way.
“We just need to get back to running our offense,’’ Duff said. “We have two big guys in the middle who can score and rebound. And we have good guards.
“Tonight we turned the ball over, and we have to get better than that.”