Kentucky Basketball: What a Marcus Lee Commitment Would Mean for the Wildcats

Matt OveringContributor IIIOctober 9, 2012

July 13, 2012;Alexandria, VA USA;USA West forward Marcus Lee (13) during the game against USA Midwest during the Nike Global Challenge at Episcopal High School. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

If you are a Kentucky fan, you should know the name Marcus Lee. He isn't the most highly touted recruit attending Big Blue Madness, but he may be the next Wildcat commitment in the 2013 class.

Lee is down to two schools: California and Kentucky. The Golden Bears have long been considered the front-runners for the Antioch, Calif., product. Before he dropped his list to two, he held offers from top schools like Duke, Indiana, Louisville and UCLA. 

He's built his reputation on athleticism and potential, making him more of a "project player" than an instant star at the college level. 

But his skills were good enough to land an athletic scholarship from the University of Kentucky. He received an offer during an in-home visit from John Calipari this summer. 

There is clearly mutual interest between Lee and the Kentucky coaching staff. As the 28th-ranked prospect in the ESPN 100, he'd be a quality addition to what is already the best class in the country.

A scholarship offer from Calipari signifies that Lee is a player that can be molded into a stud at the collegiate level. At 6'9", 200-plus pounds, Lee can play and guard any of the frontcourt positions. That versatility, plus a dedication to defense, makes him a clear fit with Kentucky basketball.

If Lee were to commit to playing beside Aaron and Andrew Harrison in 2013-14 (and beyond), he would bring the Wildcats a high-quality post presence for the future.

The biggest question involving Lee's decision is how he could potentially influence the decision of Julius Randle. Randle is widely regarded as the best post player in the 2013 class, and Kentucky has made his final list of six schools. 

Lee is likely to commit sooner than Randle, who will make his collegiate choice in the spring. Would his commitment derail the recruitment of a 5-star (Randle)?

Probably not.

A solid comparison can be made between the duo of Lee and Randle and current Wildcats Willie Cauley-Stein and Nerlens Noel. WCS committed to Calipari prior to Noel's spring decision, and Noel selected the Wildcats anyway. Both play center, and both have the talent to play right away. 

The Lee/Randle situation could have the same end: Two same-position players committing to the Kentucky Wildcats.

WCS won't impact the minutes that Noel receives this year, and Lee wouldn't impact Randle's playing time. Competition for playing time shouldn't be an issue, particularly with the talent that Randle possesses. 

Looking ahead, if Lee wound up in Lexington, there would be plenty of minutes for him and an elite talent to share. Randle, Noah Vonleh and Trey Lyles (2014) all have the capability to play beside Lee in the frontcourt.

With a Lee commitment, Kentucky would gain a multi-year, multi-talented player that can be a flexible rotation player for the future.