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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Marcus Lee, Bonus Production or Necessary Player?

(photo courtesy of Yahoo)    ‘Murica

I’m not sure there has been a more out-of-leftfield performance in a bigger setting than Marcus Lee in the Elite 8 against Michigan.  His first half production on the offensive end and rebounding/defense in the 2nd half were a key and an argument could be made Lee’s production was the deciding factor in the win.  Either way, I think most people would call the production Lee gave the Cats bonus from what was expected.

Well, that was Sunday.  This is now the Final Four and with Willie Cauley-Stein on the sidelines, there is no doubt that Lee will see the floor once again tomorrow.  But after just 1 great game, what are we to expect from Marcus Lee?  Do we now think/want/expect the same kind of performance from this 18-year-old in the freaking Final Four?  Or is it still just bonus points/rebounds/stats in whatever Lee can give you?  Let’s not forget, unlike the Harrisons/Young/Randle who have all played AT LEAST 1150 minutes, Lee has just played 141 minutes all season.  He is still an inexperienced freshman.  Throw in this is the FREAKING FINAL FOUR, and even 5th year seniors are going to be nervous.

Here is the problem from my standpoint.  I think anything Lee gives UK should be considered bonus.  I wish it were so.  Unfortunately, I think this is a game where UK is going to need something from Lee.  The #1 advantage that I see Wisconsin having over Kentucky is the fact they can shoot the ball well at all 5 positions.  Obviously, Frank Kaminsky can get on the perimeter and be a threat.  I am not sure Dakari Johnson is going to be effective guarding anybody on the perimeter.  But Lee is a quicker and longer athlete, and probably would be more effective.  On offense, Johnson is a much greater threat.  But I think this game will be won on the defensive end of the floor for Kentucky.  How do they defend the perimeter and keeping Kaminsky from easy shots.  And it seems to be Lee might be a better option to do that.

I don’t think UK needs Lee to score 10 points again.  I am not sure they need him to score ANY points.  But Marcus Lee is definitely going to be needed tomorrow for Kentucky to win.  And I wonder if that makes you confident or nervous.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

40 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Marcus Lee, Bonus Production or Necessary Player?”

  1. BobKYCats

    Well, I for one am happy that when we need a seldom-used bench player to produce on the biggest stages, it’s a 6’10 5-Star McDonald’s All-American.

    We know he has the ability to produce. It makes me confident.

    1. Bledsoe's Biceps

      Exactly. Marcus has the ability to contribute. He always has. This situation is a result of Cal’s refusal to utilize his deeper bench throughout the season. Marcus has always been deserving of more minutes. Let’s be honest, Dakari is not quick enough to guard anyone on the perimeter. That’s not a criticism, just a fact. Marcus will be key in this game.

  2. TJY

    He is ready! Sometimes his legs look a little wobbly but once he gets going he will be fine. Block a shot, defend a 3, rebound a ball and he will have that confidence. We need him BECAUSE Dakari can’t guard on the perimeter. I think we see him by the first TV timeout.

  3. Bluemister

    Great communicators take their message and distill it down to the simplest form so that it can be communicated in one sentence.

    On the other hand, you, BTI, SUCK!

    1. College BB Coach in Texas

      BTI’s analysis is, as usual, completely idiotic. Anyone who watched the early UK games would have seen that Marcus Lee was our highest rated offensive player for almost the entire pre-conference schedule, and his rebounds per 40 rating was higher than even Julius’. Most knowledgeable fans have not been suprised by Marcus’ solid performance in the tourney, because we have been wondering all season why Cal doesn’t play him more. Dakari has butter fingers with the ball, and can’t play without fouling, and although Willie blocks better, he has no offense. I love them both, but overall we are best when Marcus is on the floor. Cal plays hunches, and is often wrong: he has ben wrong about Marcus all year, and it is time for Marcus to continue to pove that.

  4. Bigger Blue

    The silver lining here for WCS injury and Lee in the line up is that there is very little tape out there for Wisconsin to use for scouting purposes… If Lee spends some time guarding Kaminsky (sp?) I think he has the length, speed and IQ to (maybe not stop) but to at least keep him in check.

    1. Syrin

      Another silver lining is this is the biggest dome they will have ever played the FF in. It will screw with the depth perception for outside shooting, something that the Cats don’t rely upon nearly as much as Wisconsin does,

  5. 9

    Bryan needs the intern tag removed. Hire the man full time!

    1. Marge

      Actually, he’s an idiot. We will NOT win this game on the defensive end of the floor, as anyone who reads Pomeroy or watches games could see. IF we win this game, it will be because our highly rated offense explodes against their poorly rated defense. It could not be more obvious. We need Marcus’ offense, and it will be there. The boy is a walking pogo stick of put-backs.

  6. kentuckyjoe

    this BTI Sucks s*** has gotten REAL old. I think maybe it’s a joke or something but if so, it’s a joke that has far exceeded anything approaching funny.

    1. BobKYCats

      I don’t get it either.

    2. catfan

      BTI s*cks is not a joke, its fact and reality.

    3. CATandMONKEY

      You guys must be new.

    4. TheDon

      BTI is a valuable member of our community. You are right.
      The time has come for us to put and end to the mean,
      Irrational, and hate-filled critique of one of our tireless writers.
      Starting today, I hope we al can appreciate the meandering and
      unedited posts that provide us with poor analysis, seeing a
      cat fan for his strengths, not his mistakes. There is no need to
      keep this old joke alive anymore, instead we should look ahead and
      start new traditions, like hugging and singing kumbaya together.

    5. Marge

      For you new guys, we love BTI, and he is a pretty good fan, but he simply is not very bright, and knows nothing at all about the game of basketball. His “analysis” is included only because it is always funny, and sometimes really infuriating because it is (like today’s) completely ass backwards. We do not hate the boy. We just don’t want our daughters to marry him.

  7. notwitch

    As soon as lee is in, they post Kaminsky in the box. The real answer in my mind is to pick up the pace and drive the lane. Have to do things to make him work on offense and potentially get him in foul trouble.

    1. symphonist41169

      Exactly. I look for Julius to defend Kaminsky more than Marcus or at least help/double team any time he gets the ball down low. Maybe some zone or box and one would be in order. On offense, I hope the Cats will DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE on Kaminsky in order to wear him out & cause him to make stupid fouls. The best way to stop Kaminsky is to KEEP HIM OFF THE FLOOR in foul trouble.

    2. cracka

      great points … i’ve kept thinking that kaminsky would pump fake our guys into a ton of trouble, including foul trouble

      but, to start the game, that dude will have to guard either dakari down low or julius wherever he is and how is he going to guard either of those guys

  8. Robert Mosley

    I think Lee will have to play most the game instead of Johnson. Johnson will not be able to guard on the perimeter. I think Lee will have another huge game! Go Cats!

    1. Bunny

      But Wisconsin has no one to guard Johnson when Ky has the ball…

  9. theWilkman

    We don’t need points from him, but he does need to put something on the stat sheet. 6+ rebounds and 2-3 blocks would suffice. If he can disrupt Kaminsky when he’s in there, we should be ok. I think we need to throw 3-4 different guys at him to effectively limit him. Dakari, Lee, Randle and Poythress all need to take turns, giving him varying styles to go against to keep him off his game. As long as he doesn’t score 30+, UK wins.

    1. Marge

      You could not be more wrong. Unless we get offensive production out of Marcus, we will be beaten badly. And playing multiple players against a great offensive player gives the offensive player the edge, because it is harder for the DEFENDER to get used to the offensive guy’s moves. Playing four guys on Kaminsky would be automatic death.
      The sad truth is that it’s just a matter of time before the magic wears off and James and the twins start playing like they’ve played all year — and the chances of that happening against a great, disciplined Bo Ryan team are very very high. We are going to need Julius and Marcus and Dakari and Alex to win this game for us.

    2. theWilkman

      Will have to agree to disagree. If we keep one player on him all game, he will get in foul trouble and be ineffective all around. The only player (besides WCS) who could shut him down would be Randle, and we can’t run the risk of him missing time because of fouls. Rotating players to defend him will also force Kaminsky to guard varying styles, which hopefully gets him into a little fould trouble himself. At the least he’ll have to ease up to stay in the game, allowing us easier buckets. And I didn’t say we needed no offensive production from Lee, just no points. Offensive rebounds will be huge in this game, and he’s going to be needed there.

      What makes you think the twins will cool off? They have played excellent, especially Andrew, for 7 games now. As for James, if anything he will play BETTER, as he’s been the one player to not elevate his game like everyone else.

  10. KYjsux

    Expectations are premeditated resentments.

    1. Marge

      Maybe, but that’s just a prophylactic evidentiary rationalization.

    2. Homer

      ‘Maybe’ is a hedge.

  11. Mac

    I think he’ll be fine. He’s got the attitude to not be intimidated by the stage. He loves to play and compete. He only needs to worry about getting to high to fast, because Wisky will pump fake him into open drives, or worse, draw quick cheap fouls.

  12. C...A....T....S....CATS

    While I think the question is legit… there is a far more important question to consider….


    It’s not about Lee, bonus points, or the Harrisons, Randle, or Young: not even Cauley-Stein. It’s this young unit of teen-agers who are going to have to play their BEST, ONE UNIT, COHESIVE DEFENSE they have played ALL YEAR.

    Wisconsin is a very fundamentally sound TEAM who can really pass the ball, hit the open man, and shoot it. We will need LEE, and ALL of our CATS to work together on the defensive end of the court, or what happens on the offensive end will matter a lot less.


  13. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    Of course we do have to play defense, but I agree with Marge to an extent. I just heard Jay Bilas this morning saying that almost any time you have a team playing much better in the tourney than they did in the regular season, it’s because they’re shooting the ball much better. We have GOT to continue shooting the ball well to win, especially when you see how well Wisconsin shoots it, and how well Florida plays defense (assuming they beat UConn, which is no guarantee).

    As for BTI’s main question, I believe it is an absolute necessity to have producation from Lee on BOTH ends, but especially on the defensive end since Dakari is not nearly as athletic as Willie or Marcus.

    1. Paducah Pam

      I agree. If our guards hit seven of 11 threes against either Wisconson or Florida (as we did against Michigan), we will win. But I am not holding my breath. Our edge is rebounding and at the line, but we will lose the turnover battle, and that guard shooting will be the deciding factor. It has been the deciding factor in all four tourney games.

    2. notwitch

      Hitting 3s will definitely help, but to me the key is driving the ball. All of our perimeter players have significant speed advantages (Wisconsin has been awful keeping people out of the lane). As long as the referees call fouls, we either get fouled, points on layups, passes for dunks or rebounds for dunks – all of which are good.

  14. Lcat

    We will need lee to play well to win. Of The 4 espn analysts who broke down the games this am, none picked UK to win it all. two chose FL, One UConn, and One the Badgers. So there you go-UK Has still not convinced the “experts”. They are predicting our bubble will burst.

  15. lonnieb

    Poythress can guard Kiminsky inside or out. He is our best defender without willie if he can stay out of foul trouble

    1. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

      I think Kiminsky might be a bit tall/big for Alex, but I may be wrong since Poy is so strong & athletic. I think we need to push him away from the basket and make him take mid-range jumbers, and Dakari is big enough to do that.

  16. Bill

    Marcus doesn’t appear to me to be the type to get upset or nervous. I noticed this during the Michigan game. He seems to take everything in stride.

  17. Chris

    I lived in San Jose last season and watched Lee more than 20 times. Marcus never gets nervous. He shut down Aaron Gordon three times never getting more than three fouls in the process. He shut down Stanley Johnson. This kid is awesome. You’ve only seen a glimpse of what he could do. He’s regressed being on the bench but I love his attitude and heart.

  18. UKBlue1!

    Poythress or Randle on the outside and help inside from big boys Johnson or Lee. This guy is legit. Go Cats! #9

    1. notwitch

      I just don’t see that is going to work. Wisconsin’s true advantage in this game is their passing. Switches involve risk because of the moments it takes to do them. If we switch, we will get crushed for easy layups and 3s. Our advantage is 1 on 1.

  19. T White

    I think the key to limiting Kiminsky on offense…is to make him play defense. Just my personal opinion. If he is getting abused on the defensive side of the floor by Julius and Dakari…I think it could put him in foul trouble and get him frustrated.

  20. Biff Switters

    I’m making a prediction. Kentucky wins on Sat. and along the way I think we see Lee block a shot similar to Davis’ block of Henson in the 11′ and 12′ season, maybe even a three!

    It’ll be a huge block of Kaminsky!

    Kentucky Wins!

    GO CATS!!!