I started my wake up post yesterday with a couple lines about how important Marcus Lee was in the Louisville game. That – combined with a seven hour car ride – got me thinking more about his play this year, specifically in the Louisville game.
As great as Tyler, Poythress and Dom were in that game, there was something that stuck out to me. How Marcus Lee didn’t foul out despite picking up his fourth foul with 9:50 to go in the game. At the time it was a 10 point lead, so Calipari took him out in an effort to get Skal some minutes and confidence. We all know what happened next, with Louisville storming back.
Defensively Kentucky was struggling so Cal put Lee back in the game with a good 4:30 to go. It was a risky play but ultimately the call that won the game for Kentucky. Lee solidified that defense, letting Poythress roam and provided that experience that was desperately needed with the lead failing. It was a quiet decision that many people didn’t notice because of the other big games, but that’s Lee’s way this year.
There shouldn’t be anything quiet about Lee. He’s tall, has a noticeable haircut, swats shots out of the building and can dunk on anyone. He likes to celebrate by playing air guitar. But, he’s quietly becoming the second most important piece to this team behind Ulis. His stats aren’t blowing anyone away with 8.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg. But, his presence on the court lets Kentucky play at their best.
So, here’s to you, Marcus. Strum that guitar again for us.