On Saturday, Marcus Lee verbally committed to transfer from the Kentucky men’s basketball team to Cal according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Per NCAA rules, he will sit out a year and play out his final year of eligibility with the Bears in the 2017-18 season.
The 6-foot-9 power forward — who can also settle in at center — was a big-time recruit coming out of Deer Valley High School in Antioch, California, earning a five-star rating from Rivals. Because of Kentucky’s consistently loaded rosters, Lee often struggled to find the court as much as he would have with most other teams. As a junior last season, he averaged 21.8 minutes per game and came off the bench in 16 of his 36 appearances.
On a team like Cal, however, a lot more will be expected of Lee, especially with Ivan Rabb likely to declare for the 2017 NBA Draft. When Lee did get on the court at Kentucky, he flashed impressive talent and athleticism that could help him thrive in a larger role with the Bears. He especially excelled at the end of lobs and on the offensive glass. Defensively, he can contribute by piling on weak side blocks with the best of them.
He dunked just about everything that came his way, whether it be over, through or around traffic, resulting in a team-best field goal percentage of 68 percent last season. This sets him up well to be a stalwart finisher in the pick and roll, likely with incoming freshman Charlie Moore as the ball handler.
Lee, who visited Cal for the second time Friday,would have to get more accustomed to shouldering a heavy load, however, as he only averaged 6.4 points per game as a junior with the Wildcats. Lee has some work to do to become a well-rounded star and the type of player who can serve as the focal point of a strong offense. Lee should look to develop either a solid mid-range jumper or a more polished post game in his year off, while improving his unseemly free throw shooting numbers.