Kentucky Wildcats freshman forward Marcus Lee will bypass the 2014 NBA Draft and return to UK for the 2014-15 season, it was announced in a release on Friday.
The Antioch, Calif., native tallied 17 points in UK’s season-opener against UNC Asheville and pulled down a then-career-high six rebounds against Northern Kentucky.
From there, Lee sat on the bench for most of the season. That is until the 6-foot-9 forward shocked the world with a 10-point, eight-rebound, two-block performance in the Elite Eight against Michigan to help the Cats advance to their third Final Four in four years.
He finished the tournament shooting 70 percent from the field and was named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament team.
“I’ve really enjoyed my college experience and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player,” Lee said. “Playing in the Final Four was such an amazing feeling, but I want to come back and help win that final game this year.”
Calipari is excited to say the least to have Lee for another year in college, knowing he has the potential to be an elite shot-blocker and post defender.
“I’m excited for Marcus and think he’s barely scratched the surface of what he’s capable of,” Calipari said. “In addition to his athleticism and the energy level he brings, the experience he gained in the NCAA Tournament this year will be immeasurable for us next season.”
With Lee’s decision now made, the Cats will return Willie Cauley-Stein and Lee to go with incoming freshman center Karl Towns to from a frontcourt few teams in college basketball could match.
Had Lee declared for the draft, he would have likely been a second-round pick, but there was speculation he could sneak into the end of the first round.
That said, he’s projected to be a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft in most services.
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