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Nazareth's Tim Kuckailis grabs a rebound and tries to put it back up as Marian's Isaiah Clemmons applies pressure. Nazareth Academy hosted Marian Catholic High School in boys basketball Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
The only thing more impressive than watching Marian Catholic junior Tyler Ulis play basketball is hearing him talk about basketball.
It isn’t a coincidence or because of raw skill that the 5-10 point guard controls the pace of the game. It’s because that’s his plan.
Ulis can shoot, he can handle the ball, he can get to the basket at will and he’s a tremendous passer. All that and possibly the best court sense in the state. When he missed his first free throw, it felt like Superman finally revealed a flaw. Then he made the next nine in a row.
Ulis finished with 26 points, seven rebounds and three assists. He dominated the game from start to finish, leading the Spartans to a 61-48 East Suburban Catholic win over Nazareth Friday in LaGrange Park.
“Ulis is just such a great player,” Nazareth coach John Bonk said. “He controls the game. He’s just very difficult to prepare for. You can’t simulate what he does.”
So far only one Big Ten school, Iowa, has offered Ulis. DePaul, Oregon State, Colorado State and a host of local mid-majors have as well.
Bonk and the Roadrunners were without 7-foot sophomore Tyler Jackson.
“He’s got some swelling in his [left] knee and we just thought it was better to keep him out,” Bonk said. “We have a lot of games in a row here and it just isn’t worth the risk.”
Ulis scored the first four points of the game and then assisted on the next two baskets. Marian Catholic (8-1, 2-0) led 22-10 after one quarter and Nazareth never mounted a serious challenge after that.
Junior Joshua Cohn added 19 points for Marian Catholic. The Spartans moved the ball all over the court in the first quarter, as six players scored in the first eight minutes.
According to Ulis, there aren’t a lot of basketball X’s and O’s behind his team’s ball movement; the reason for it is simple and human.
“We all like one another a lot off the court,” Ulis said. “That goes a long way. We want to see each other do well and get each other the ball in the right spot.”
John Bonk led the Roadrunners (6-2, 2-1) with 12 points. Tim Kuckailis had 10 points and 12 rebounds.