By Luke Johnson
Antioch native Marcus Lee burst into the national spotlight, Sunday when he propelled Kentucky past Michigan into the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
The Deer Valley High Class of ’13 graduate scored 10 points, with 5-of-5 shooting all coming in the first half, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots in the Wildcats’ 75-72 victory over the Wolverines in the Midwest Regional Final.
In Lee’s senior year, he was named Bay Valley Athletic League MVP, and was ranked the 19th top prospect in the country on Rivals.com. He took DVHS to new heights by reaching the Division I State Semifinal. But for most of this year, Lee had become a forgone conclusion.
Since Christmas, he had only collaborated for a combined total of nine points before Sunday’s contest. When it came to game time, Michigan’s coaching staff had made few preparations against Lee.
“We had very little on him (in the scouting report),” said Michigan coach John Beilein. “But he does one thing really, really well, and that’s he plays way above the rim. You can see the size disadvantage was obvious out there.”
He entered the game in the middle of the first half, and provided an immediate spark by blocking a shot and going to the other end of the court and slamming it down. Lee produced two more powerful dunks to score six points in just nearly two minutes of play.
“I just tried to stay ready, no matter what the time was and contribute to the team,” Lee said during the postgame press conference while sitting next to Kentucky coach John Calipari.
“Tell them what I told you for two days before this game,” Calipari said to Lee.
“Y’all know Cal’s always right?” Lee said, causing members of the media to laugh. “So… He told the team I was going to have a big day.”
Kentucky continues its path in the tournament Saturday at 5:49 p.m. on TBS network in Arlington, Texas. The Wildcats will take on Wisconsin for shot at competing in the NCAA Final on Monday night.
Lee already has a page on both Wikipedia and ESPN’s websites. To read more about him, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Lee or http://espn.go.com/college-sports/basketball/recruiting/player/_/id/126077/marcus-lee.