(CBS) — He may not get as many headlines as a few other “big” high school basketball stars, but Marian Catholic’s Tyler Ulis stands just as tall as a McDonald’s All-American.
As CBS 2’s Megan Mawicke reports, Ulis is proof positive that size doesn’t matter when you have talent and determination.
The supposed knock on Ulis is he’s just 5-foot-9 — too short to be a big-time college player.
“Yeah, I think they’re always going to say I’m too little do this, too little to do that,” said Ulis, a senior guard.
Coming into last summer he wasn’t even ranked in the top 100 players in the country by many outlets, and that motivated him.
“I wasn’t getting the looks that I thought I should have gotten,” Ulis said. “As I played, my dad just kept telling me it will work out for itself. I came out this summer playing with a big chip on my shoulder.”
“It’s always given him a little chip, but as we’ve always said his talent speaks for itself,” added Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor. “Once people watch him play, they don’t see size anymore they just see a special gift.”
Now, the soft-spoken, humble guard is headed to Kentucky, not too short to run John Calipari’s offense.
“I love Coach Cal, he never promised my anything. He just told me straight up, that I am going to have to come in and earn my spot,” Ulis said.
“He doesn’t care if he scores, I have to beg him to shoot sometimes,” Taylor added. “He would rather pass. He could lead Kentucky to the Final Four this year.”
But first he’d like to help the 17-2 Spartans with filling that gaping hole in their trophy case.
“When I first came to Marian they didn’t think we would do anything,” Ulis said. “My freshman year, I think we were under .500. We’ve turned the program around so much it would be great to win a state championship.”
Marian Catholic is ranked in the top five in the state.