While he wasn't going to play in the 2016-17 season, landing Marcus Lee from Kentucky would have been a big get for the 2017-18 Washington Huskies. That reality is not going to happen, we discovered Saturday night:
BREAKING: Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee has committed to Cal, sources told @CBSSports.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 12, 2016
Lee was reportedly deciding between his hometown Cal Bears and the Huskies, and ultimately decided that Cal-Berkeley is where he would spend the final two years of his basketball career (though he is only eligible for one.
Lee was pushed out of the one-and-done factory known as Kentucky because John Calipari is the most insatiable recruiter alive. A former four-star recruit, Lee was supposed to be a one-or-two-and-done recruit, like many who went through Lexington. Instead he was a deep reserve in his freshman season, playing in 25 games and averaging six minutes. His junior season was by far his most productive, where he averaged over 20 minutes and shot 68.0% from the floor.
The problem Lee ran into was falling behind more uber-talented players his freshman season, and with Calipari's bottomless pit of frontcourt players he was relegated to bench duty. Lee might not have lived up to the lofty expectations that he had when he was a top target of Lorenzo Romar, but that doesn't mean he is a bad player. A reserve at Kentcuky doesn't mean that a player is bad, at all. A reserve big man at Kentucky is likely in the top 20 percent of major-college bigs.
Losing Lee isn't anything near a death blow, and many here are going to say we didn't want a player with two years to play one anyways, but losing out on a very talented big isn't ever a good thing. Even a loss of luxury is a loss. The Dawgs are still going to have Noah Dickerson, Sam TImmins, Matthew Attewe and Devenir Duruisseau, along with any other frontcourt recruits Romar picks up - though none appear to be on the horizon at the moment with Mamadou Diarra committed to his "dream school" UConn.