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Their Time to Shine: Marcus Lee

Photo by Chet White – UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White - UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White – UK Athletics

After an unprecedented seven players declared for the draft after a Final Four loss to Wisconsin it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about next year’s team. Let’s instead take a look at the returning players who are set to have a big year next season. First up in the, Their Time to Shine series: Marcus Lee.

Marcus Lee is just one of those people who seems to have a great time no matter what he’s doing. Rarely do we see Lee lethargically going through the motions as he is always a ball of energy. Last season Lee took a back seat to Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns, understandably. Both are projected to be lottery picks and Towns has the chance to be the #1 overall draft pick. Lee got his moments of fame every now and then when he would come in and do something that should be trademarked (i.e. against Notre Dame where he dunked Devin Booker’s missed jumper or when he dunked over Booker). Come next season, Lee is sure to be a stand out.

In 157 minutes in the 2013-14 season Lee averaged 2.4 points, 0.6 blocks and 1.4 rebounds per game. But, we got a major glimpse of Lee’s talent in the 2014 Elite Eight against Michigan after Cauley-Stein suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the Sweet 16 to Louisville. He brought an energy to the game that we had not seen out of any of the other players. With a Final Four on the line, Lee contributed 10 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. We now knew Marcus Lee had the potential to be special.

In the 2014-15 season, Lee got significantly more time. He was a member of the blue platoon where he was paired with Dakari Johnson in the front court. Lee’s role was to be that constant bundle of energy. Getting a put back dunk or a big block were two ways that Lee could get the team going.

Because of the limited playing time that every one on the squad received, Lee’s stats didn’t reflect the abilities that he had. In an article by 247 Sports, it is determined that Lee’s estimated full 40 minutes stats would nearly triple. Instead of 2.6 points per game he would have 9.6, instead of 2.7 rebounds he would have 10.1 and so on and so forth.

Throughout the year, we sometimes wondered why Coach Cal wasn’t playing Lee. There would be times where he would go in for maybe two minutes and he would pull him, or he wouldn’t play at all. But then we remembered there were future NBA lottery picks in the game ahead of Lee. Even so, we anxiously sat by and waited for Lee to have his moment.

This year, Lee should get his time. Towns, Cauley-Stein, and Johnson all declared for the draft so the front court will consist of Alex Poythress, Lee and freshman Skal Labissiere. The three years he’s had at Kentucky have prepared him to take a leadership position this year and he’s ready for it.

While the fans of the Big Blue Nation know that this year is the year for Lee, people nationally know it as well. In an article written for USA TodayKyle Tucker talks about Lee’s leadership on and off the court.

Come October make sure you’re ready to watch on as Marcus Lee could just have the season we’ve been waiting for him to have.

Article written by Haley Simpson

I'm from Bullitt County but I'm not a 6'9 power forward with a solid outside shot. Follow me on Twitter: @haleysimpKSR