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Cal Basketball Scouting Report: Marcus Lee

It took 4 years, but Coach Martin got the man that Coach Monty wanted with Jabari Bird, Jordan Mathews, and Sam Singer.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears might have two Lee's on the roster in 2017...But we've secured one of them.

Cal signed former Kentucky C Marcus Lee who should become a valuable addition to the Cal Roster. Let's take a look at his strengths/weaknesses, and see where/how he fits with the team.

So why not start with a SCTOP10 Play?

If the prospect of put-back dunks and alley-oops galore from our 2 future stellar point guards (Charlie Moore and Jemarl Baker) doesn't excite you for 2017 then... I really can't help you.

Let's start with the basic facts.

Marcus played 3 years at Kentucky. He did not get the opportunity to start much. It was more competition and depth than anything else. He competed against the likes of Alex Poythress, Julius Randle, Dakari Johnson his freshman season; then Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles his sophomore season; then Skal Labissiere. Thats not counting all the players that might have returned the following season. Even if you are a highly touted recruit, the way Calipari recruits you'll be buried on the depth chart faster than you can say Lexington. The competition on the roster alone was immense, the majority of the front court players he practiced and played with went on to be lottery picks in the NBA Draft. So this aspect of Marcus' career becomes 2-sided. One is that his skill set could not adapt to the changing roster and his role every season. The second is that he could not develop as a player fast enough to beat out the incoming classes. Coach Martin and Jones will coach him up the best that they can in 2 years (He has to sit one year to play one year). His upside as a player is still there being only 21 years old, and if he can learn and grasp the game to match his physical abilities that should help us as a program and him as a player.

Now lets get into the specifics. His Strengths:

  • Its clear to see he is one heck of an athlete. His game is clearly at its best when playing around and above the rim. His points come from put-backs, alley-oops and dunks in transition as a trailing big man. That definitely helps his FG% and what you want from your big man. He came in at 10th in the country last season in 2PT% at 68%. An specific aspect of his game around the basket is that he has a great sense of the rim and very good finishing in the paint.
  • Rebounding, specifically his offensive rebounding, is one his best skills. He was ranked 58th in the country in offensive rebounding, collecting 13.1% of all offensive rebounding opportunities. (To put it in perspective Rico Gathers of Baylor was #1 in the country at 18.1%)
  • Shot blocking and all around defense is also a hug strength. He's light on his feet enough to switch on perimeter players in the pick-n-roll game, but he's also explosive enough to shot block from the weak side. He averaged 1.6 blocks per game, at a rate of 7.3%. His blocking percentage was at 63rd in the country.

His weaknesses:

  • No Jump Shot. His offensive game is centered around the paint, but judging from his Pro-Am highlights it looks like he has developed some more post moves. If he could build his offensive game with his already stellar touch around the basket, this weakness can be flipped to a strength easily. From there he needs to be able to hit the mid-range jumper to be able to keep defenses honest when he has the ball in a triple-threat position.
  • Marcus needs a clearly defined role. Is he a defensive center? An athletic power forward? A pick-n-roll big man? Its clear he needs direction on where to focus on growing as a player and maximizing his strengths first, and then adding to his game. My take would be to make him into a devastating pick and roll player on offense and defense. That's where he could possibly find a niche to become a commodity as a NBA draft talent.

Sadly, we won't be able to witness what could have been had we suited up both Ivan and Marcus together. The thought of having the two run pick-n-roll's, baseline cuts and finishing around the basket on offense, while being able to switch on every pick-n-roll and have the other block shots from the weak side on defense makes me happy. Although, we may never see the two play on the court, Marcus brings an experience, knowledge and know-how from one of the powerhouse basketball blue blood programs in the country. If he can use that to teach our bigs and become an excellent sparring partner for our big men, the wait for a season maybe worth while.

California Love. California Rising.

Oh. And I leave you with this little montage of what we might be seeing a lot of in practice and in 2017.