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Signee Marcus Lee says Kentucky “will refuse to lose next year”


When Marcus Lee decided to play for Kentucky, he was just thrilled he would get to be part of the program’s tradition and play for coach John Calipari. The 6-10 California center had no idea he would become part of a historic recruiting class.

“No, I had no idea this was going to happen. I am really excited to see us do great things next year, but not way did I imagine it was going to happen,” said Lee.

He averaged 17.7 points, 19.5 rebounds and 6.7 blocked shots per game for Deer Valley High School and now is part of the nation’s all-time best recruiting class along with Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, James Young, Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Derek Willis.

“Winning the national championship has gone through our minds. Now it’s stuck in our minds. That is all we plan on doing, especially since we are all big competitors. We will refuse to lose next year,” Lee said.

He spent time with the Harrisons, Randle, Johnson and Young at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago and at the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn last month.

“I think it is great to be together like that. It helps us mesh quicker and gives us more time to be together. We all get to be around each other, laugh and joke around together. That has to help for next year,” he said.

“Being away from each other in different cities, we kind of forget that we are all still teenagers. On tape and film we look like big athletes that are always serious. Finally being with each other makes us realize we are all still kids and joke around all the time and like to mess around. We can be serious about basketball and still be kids and have fun.

“We are similar but we are still different. We get along real well. We are joking around probably 90 percent of the time. The other players are probably tired of us always talking about Kentucky, but we are loving it. There are six of us. If five of us are not talking about Kentucky, the sixth one will be. We are really excited to get there and do greatness.”

Knowing UK has an abundance of front-court players with the incoming freshmen along with returning players Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer does not bother Lee.

“I think that was pretty smart. That way we are always ready to play different teams. Maybe we play a really big team and need big guys that are huge and we have that team for it. Maybe we play really fast teams and need me others for that. We are always set for different teams,” Lee said. “But the pace really doesn’t matter. I am running either way. I will sprint the court no matter what just to make life easier.”

Lee averaged more rebounds per game in high school than any of UK’s returning players or incoming freshmen.

“I had to do it to win. My coach came to me my sophomore year and was like, ‘Make sure you do it all or we are not going to win.’ I tried to get every rebound and every time I didn’t I was like, ‘Man, we won’t win if I don’t get that next rebound.’ So I took it upon myself to do that and hope to do the same at Kentucky,” Lee said.

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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Attitude is infectious…Attitude creates winners…Attitude is a Major component of this Team ! SW, I think you got some Players that Understand What It Means To BE KENTUCKY ! Every last one of them…

  2. Karen Sprinkle

    Count me impressed by his rebounding average. Even for a high school player, to average nearly 20 rebounds a game is astounding. Thanks for these articles about our incoming freshmen class, Larry. It’s great getting to know them a little before the season starts.

  3. John Planck

    These guys coming in next year know what it means to be a wildcat, and to be part if the bbn! I can’t wait till the season starts to see these kids play. I don’t think that I have ever been as excited for basketball season to start back but hearing all these interviews has got me pumped up and wishing the season was ready to start! Go big blue!

  4. Anonymous

    It’s like one size fits it all…wow! What combinations we’ll be able to put on the floor. It’s going to be fun to watch.

  5. stephen

    I graduated Uk in 76, This is the most excited I’ve been since I saw Dan Issel and Louie Dampier. This team will be history. How far have we come since BCG? Losing to Jr.College teams to now being realistic about a perfect season. But let me be the first of many to say ‘we will do it with class’. These young men are not only freakishly talented but also SMART!. Listen to their interviews wow. As Jack N. Says ‘ may not get any better than this’…Proud to Be A part of it

    1. larryvaught

      Stephen, you and I are about the same age and it is truly a special time

  6. LindaS

    Indescribable, indestructible nothing will stop them

  7. Annetta Cook

    I am soo ready for UK basketball, I know last season wasn’t the best, But reguardkess if the outcome,, I still bleed Bue and love my CATS, I have been a fan since I was 6 yrs.old. now am 58 and it doesn’t get any less exciting,, Cant Wait!!!!!

  8. Kokamo Joe

    At this time last year I was making some of these same comments. I don’t want to toss water on hot coals, but folks would it not be wise to wait until this team gets assembled. Our incoming freshmen have not played a game and our coach and returning players were leaders in one of the worst seasons in recent history.

    It is common for freshmen to have all the confidence in the world. It is good that our new kids have pride and confidence. I have high hope for great success and I am anxious to put the bad taste of last year out of my life….but let us allow the new team to demonstrate their prowess before we anoint them with glory and “a perfect season” ….just yet.

  9. UK Fan in NC

    I can’t wait! It is difficult to be a UK fan in UNC/Duke/NCState/Wake Forest country. But we wear it loud and proud! It is going to be great being a KENTUCKY fan this year!! Come on, basketball season! BBN, BABY!! What a recruiting class.

  10. Dave / New Mexico


  11. UKfankathy

    I love this young enthusiasm, as all incoming freshmen seem to have. But the thing that I think is very different with this team vs last year’s team is this team has the desire to WIN. Nothing less. They have fight in them. Determination. Vehement determination. Losing is not an option. And IF it should happen, well, they will be meaner the next game and go for the jugular! I’m lovin’ this team and their attitude. It will be a fun season and I can’t wait for the first game. Bring it on! Heck I am 71 years old and remember many great years and not-so-good years, and last year’s results cannot ever happen again and I believe it won’t! GO BIG BLUE!

  12. BigDKatFan

    LindaS has come up with the name – this time next year, we’ll be buying the DVD about The Indestructibles! Only 142 Days till Big Blue Madness – Go Kats! See you all at JerryWorld on April 7th!

  13. Walt T./ UK 1954

    I attended UK during the Rupp years, so I remember many great players for UK. but most of them played for four years. It’s hard to be a fan of a player when he’s gone after just one year, but I can still be a UK fan and always will be. Go Big Blue!!

  14. Fred

    I really like Marcus Lee. I was more excited about him coming to Kentucky than all the other super freshmen (and I really liked all the new freshmen). His rebounding and shotblocking ability will amaze people. He will put on weight and score a lot of points as well. He also seems to have the personality that will promote team chemistry, which will be a huge asset all by itself. I said last year that I thought that Marcus Lee was the most under rated player in the country. He is a top 10 player in my book. Welcome to Kentucky Marcus! You are about to embark on the greatest adventure of your young life!

  15. DeniseCatLove

    Welcome Marcus Lee to the greatest show on earth! You are truly a special player with a great attitude! I am so excited that you chose UK to showcase your talents!
    You will love every minute of your experience at Kentucky… and you will experience the love of the big blue nation!

  16. george

    don’t leave the Gator out Florida is a better team

  17. Mark

    “We can be serious about basketball and still be kids and have fun.”
    Spoken like a true kid. I find it amusing how Kentucky fans can fall for the same line of exalted expectations for No. 1 recruiting classes two years in a row. I know, this year will be different because these kids are even better than last years kids! Of course they will beat poor and mediocre teams, but when they come up against other talented teams their youth will be exposed. Good luck with that.

  18. Gene T.

    I so much agree. I tend to get caught up in the hype. I do believe this team is for real. last years team had a lot of question marks at PG. This team has everything in place. GO CAT”S!

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