By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky fans got a little excited when Marcus Lee declared last week that if he returned to Kentucky for his senior season, then the Wildcats would go undefeated.
Most wanted to believe him. Even more wanted to believe that was a sign Lee would take his name out of the NBA draft and return to UK.
Well, he did withdraw his name from the draft but he won’t help UK go undefeated — or even have a chance to try. Instead, Lee has decided to transfer for his senior year.
Since he has yet to graduate, he will have to sit out next season. However, he’s fine with that because the NBA Draft evaluation convinced him that if he wants to play at the next level, he has a lot to work on. He can do that during his transfer year, get back closer to his family in California and still have a year to play.
Numbers don’t explain why Lee will be missed so much by UK fans. He was a caring, smiling you man. He did numerous things in the community and was always willing to interact with fans.
“I am sad about Marcus’ decision. I was looking forward to him being a leader for this young team next year,” Kentucky fan Karen Sprinkle posted. “Sitting out a year will give him the opportunity to correct the weaker parts of his game. I’ll always appreciate his positive outlook and hope that he finds his dream, even if he leaves Lexington to achieve it.”
Rev. Jerry Johns has a solid perspective, too.
“Just a shame for us, but maybe a solid move for his aspirations. I hope so. Was great to our community,” Johns posted.
Another UK fan, Maureen Kelley Davis, posted that Lee’s departure left her sad.
“I really love this kid’s heart, enthusiasm, hustle and energy. Gonna miss @JustMarcusLee but always #BBN,” Davis said.
Kentucky fans don’t forget their own. Just ask Kyle Wiltjer. He left UK after two years, sat out a season at Gonzaga and then had two successful years. During an April trip to UK, fans turned out to welcome him back.
I think it will be the same with Lee and should be. He made the best decision for himself and that’s what coach John Calipari has always encouraged his players to do even if that decision might mean leaving UK.