September 17, 2012

Lee gives Calipari rave review for in-home visit

The name Marcus Lee just gets hotter and hotter by the minute. Just a couple of weeks after climbing all the way to five-star status at no. 15 in the 2013 Rivals150 the athletic forward received an offer from Kentucky head coach John Calipari during his in-home visit with the staff on Sunday night in their Antioch (Cal.) home.

Just moments after the Kentucky staff left the Lee household on Sunday, Marcus' older brother and family recruiting spokesman Bryan Lee contacted Cats Illustrated to chat about the visit, and where Kentucky stands in Marcus' list of three final schools.
An admittedly excited Lee said that the pitch made by Calipari was exactly what his brother wanted to hear.

"The visit went really well, they've got a great staff. Coach John Calipari came in really prepared and hit on all the key points that we were looking to hear about," Lee said, "There are just so many positives with Kentucky, especially coming off a National Championship; it's impossible to not get excited after that visit."

While Calipari covered all of the basics about campus life, playing style, the passion of the community and the chance to win a National Championship; it was an unexpected conversation piece that resonated the strongest with Marcus and his brother.

"Their biggest point is that Marcus doesn't even know how good he's going to be. They feel like they have been through this process before with guys like Marcus and that they would be the best fit to help him develop into the best player that he can be", said Lee, "They told Marcus that they believe 100% he has the talent and that they want to show him the direction.

"Guys at his position like Willie Cauley-Stein, and even Anthony Davis, were kind of late blooming athletic power forwards and we see what Kentucky has done, and is doing, with guys like that."

In addition to being surprised about Calipari's comparisons of Lee to a young Davis or Cauley-Stein, Lee was also surprised to hear that Calipari was ready to extend a scholarship offer towards Marcus during the in-home visit. While the family was expecting an offer to eventually come Lee's way, the fact that it happened in their home as opposed to on Marcus' upcoming official visit did excite the family according to Bryan Lee.

With just California, Kentucky and Louisville remaining in the race to sign the 6-foot-9 five-star forward, the recruiting intensity is going to pick up even higher for Lee. At this point, however, the family is going on public record as saying that all three of the finalists stand on pretty level ground.

"All three of the schools are about even with Marcus right now, they all have their pluses," Lee said, "California is a great academic school and could be a nice opportunity to represent the area."

Kentucky is one of, if not the, premiere programs in the country. Then we still have Louisville, where UK might be coming off a championship but UL is going to start the season ranked one or two."

With official visits to California and Louisville already in the books since cutting his list to a final three, Lee will next be in Lexington for a visit for Big Blue Madness next month. After taking what will almost surely be his final visit before making a decision, Lee plans on re-discussing the status of his recruitment with his family after that.

"He'll be in Lexington for Big Blue Maddness and then we're going to see where Marcus' head is towards making a decision," said Lee, "We're not going to push anything until he's ready to make the right choice for him. It'd be great to make a decision in the fall, but it's ok either way."

The passion of the Big Blue Nation should be clearly visible to Lee during Big Blue Madness, the first event of the basketball season that is open to the public. With Bryan Lee describing his brother Marcus as a school pride fanatic, that passion from Kentucky fans should make a strong and positive influence on Marcus (and possibly even on his decision).

"Seeing the passion of the fans up close is something that really excited Marcus," Lee said, "He's all about school spirit and fans cheering and that good stuff. He's going for homecoming king this weekend at his school, Marcus loves school spirit and Kentucky seems like they have some of the best school pride out there."

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