There were coaches who would have cut off their pinky toe to get a commitment from Marcus Lee out of high school — seriously. The 6-foot 9 jumping jack was a McDonald’s All-American in 2013 and could have went to any college he wanted to, but he went to Kentucky because he wanted to play with the best of the best and play on the sport’s biggest stage.
Lee has never played more than 20 minutes in a college game during the first two years of college career and that has a lot more to do with the players in the Wildcats’ program than it does with Lee’s abilities. In the past two seasons, Kentucky has had Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Dakari Johnson logging minutes up front, but now all of those players are gone except for Poythress.
Lee will be primed to to step into a bigger role as a junior and if you need a reminder of what he’s capable of go back to the 2014 Elite Eight against Michigan. With Cauley-Stein out due to injury, Lee came off the bench to score 10 points, grab eight rebounds, and block two shots in 15 minutes. Kentucky wouldn’t have advanced to the 2014 Final Four without him.