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The Importance of Marcus Lee

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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.

Article written by Bobby Reagan

One time representative of UK at SEC 3v3 basketball championships. Northern Yankee living the Kentucky dream. Follow me @uklefty22

9 Comments for The Importance of Marcus Lee

  1. mikeintn
    6:46 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    I agree, would really be hurting without Marcus.

  2. deltasig41
    6:55 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Almost every year, no matter how many stars dot a lineup, there is at least one guy that is irreplaceable, without filling up the stat sheet. In previous years, it’s been guys like Josh Harrellson, Darius Miller, Deandre Liggins, WCS…Whether it’s being a defensive stopper, a shot-blocker, or a versatile scorer that can matchup with a variety of defenders. They all look different and bring something different to the table, but are effective in their own way.

    With Lee, his energy on the glass is obviously the biggest factor. I couldn’t count the number of times we’ve had a poor offensive possession, to be cleaned up by a Marcus Lee offensive board and putback. He does a great job of finding space for lobs, and he’s really improved his low-post game. He’s been a pleasant surprise.

    That being said, I think Alex Poythress is the most important guy for us to be successful. He’s got to find a way to be effective on the offensive end (like he was Saturday), and he has to continue to defend without fouling. He doesn’t have to play like he did Saturday every single second, but he does need to be able to play that way more often than not for us to reach our full potential.

  3. LansingCat
    7:07 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Marcus Lee proved how amazing he is during the Michigan game two years ago (I think?) in the NCAA tournament.

    • deltasig41
      7:10 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      To a degree, yes. But he is so much better now than he was then. Keep in mind, he was a green freshman that had little playing time much of the year. He was enormous in that game for us late in the first half (I remember it well, I was there), but him then and him now are two totally different players. That’s not to take away from his performance that day, but that was an outlier. Without WCS, we needed him, and he stepped up. But he didn’t contribute much the next two games.

  4. scottg74
    9:25 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

    Marcus actually seems to have learned from watching from the bench the past two years. He shows that experience does help even if you don’t have the full package. He seems to be about one year behind where WCS was his jr year. Truly he maybe on track. WCS could stretch the floor, other than that they never were offensive set threats.

    Marcus has used his time wisely while here. If you watch him, he’s not lost on the court, knows where he needs to be. Skal could learn from watching Marcus, same build and all.

    • UK Big Board Update
      10:54 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      Or maybe its the practices, which have had a ton of NBA talent over the years?

    • theSkinny81
      11:01 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      I’ve been watching UK from my couch for 28 years. I’m gonna go ahead and declare for the draft. Haha.

    • scottg74
      11:05 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      That to UK big board. I was waiting for someone to correct me.

    • UK Big Board Update
      11:43 pm December 28, 2015 Permalink

      You’re welcome, Williamsburg. 😉