Kentucky’s five NBA Draft entrants have each found their new homes. Kevin Knox is a Knick, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a Clipper, Jarred Vanderbilt is a Nugget, Hamidou Diallo is with the Thunder, and Wenyen Gabriel is a King.
Even past Wildcats looking for jobs such as Derek Willis (Pelicans), Aaron Harrison (Wizards), and Kyle Wiltjer (Trail Blazers) have homes for the summer league.
Former Kentucky forward and Cal-Berkeley Bear Marcus Lee, however, is still searching. And he knows his future depends on it.
“I’m looking for a job. I need to pay rent,” Lee told Rusty Simmons of the San Franciso Chronicle. “Either I get this job, or I’m living on the streets. That’s the way I’m feeling right now.”
Lee worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers and Toronto Raptors, and the Phoenix Suns were also interested. When the draft came, however, his name was never called and no one has taken a shot on him for the summer league.
“For me, it wasn’t about moving up the draft boards. I was trying to get on the draft boards,” said Lee. “But summer league is still a chance to battle. I have no idea what’s happening, but I’m excited for the opportunity to battle. The summer league is a chance to show why I should have been picked.
The 6-foot-11 forward out of Antioch, CA averaged 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game with the Bears last season, and then averaged 10 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocked shots in April’s Portsmouth Invitational.
Though it hasn’t come yet, Lee will almost certainly earn a spot with a team in the NBA Summer League coming up in July. If he earns a training camp invite, he’ll keep fighting for his NBA dreams. He even said he’s comfortable playing in the G-League for a while to climb his way up the ladder. With his ability to defend all five positions on the floor and versatility on the floor, Lee believes he has a shot at making an impact for an NBA team sooner rather than later, similar to Golden State’s Jordan Bell this past year.
If the NBA doesn’t work out, however, he’s comfortable playing overseas to make a living.
“I’m the kind of person who loves having a plan, a backup plan and a backup to the backup plan, but with this, I feel like I need to be all-in,” Lee said. “This is the only plan. If it doesn’t work, I’ll figure it out, but it’s the only thing I’m thinking about right now.