(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.