Tag Archives: Marcus Lee

Marcus Lee talks recruiting with BDN

Marcus Lee, a rising senior out of Deer Valley (CA), has blasted onto the scene over the last six months, establishing himself as one of the top big men in the class of 2013. Boasting a 7’1.5” wingspan, the wiry 6'9" Lee uses that length well to protect the paint.  Driving much of the attention has been Lee's excellent summer on the hardwood.

Marcus never imagined he would receive the attention he has, even as his game has blossomed. He is extremely gracious for all the help his brother Brian has given him in the recruiting process. For Marcus, Brian has been the rock that he has needed to help him navigate the challenging recruiting process.

Lee recently arranged his final official visits, and is expected to make an official visit to Duke on October 27.

The bouncy big man was gracious enough to give BDN some time to discuss his recent trip to UCLA, his impressions of Coach K, and his relationship with his brother, among other topics.

BlueDevilNation: Being a west coast guy, it must be an honor to represent the west side out here in the Elite 24.

Marcus Lee: Oh yeah.  It was a great honor once I got the invite. It was just a real add-on to summer.  The summer was great.

BDN: Do you feel you had a good summer and played as well as possible?

ML: Yeah, I think I had a real great summer this year, and yeah, I tried as hard as possible and just tried to [private] get it done this year.

BDN: Your recruitment really blew up this summer.  Did you ever imagine all of this?

ML: (laughing) Uh, no, I never imagined all of this. It all came as a big surprise once it all started.

BDN: You had a chance to visit UCLA recently.  Can you go over that trip?

ML: It was a pretty great visit. The gym that’s about to open will be crazy.

BDN: Pauley Pavilion?

ML: Yeah, yeah.

BDN: There’s a perception about kids leaving the west coast.  Do you feel you fall under that at all?

ML: No, not at all. I feel like I’m able, I feel like I’m a chameleon and can adapt to wherever I go.

BDN: As with most recruits, their families hope to be able to watch them when they play.  Will it be important for yours to be able to attend the games?

ML: Yeah, it’ll be very important. It’s great to have your family and friends there to support you.

BDN: Do you feel like it’s a deciding factor?

ML: Uh, I don’t know yet. (laughs)  We’ll see when we get there.

BDN: You’ve set a bunch of your in-home visits recently.  Have you had a chance to set up the Duke one yet?

ML: Umm, I don’t think so.

Brian Lee: No, we haven’t set it yet.

BDN: You were at the Lebron camp this summer and got to see the USA National team practice.  Can you describe that experience?

ML: Yeah, it was great.  We watched them scrimmage and it wasn’t like high school. They were going after each other like they were playing a real game.

BDN: Going back to Duke, do they have a pitch they’re selling you?

ML: No, they don’t really have a pitch.  It’s just us talking together, trying to learn more about each other.

BDN: Were you able to keep in contact with Coach K while he was in London?

ML: Yeah, a little bit. We talked in an out. Probably mostly through text messages because it was harder to call.

BDN: You said recently that he’s really energetic.  Could you describe that?

ML: Just in his voice you can hear it.  You can hear that he’s excited about basketball, he’s excited about the team. He just has that passion.  He’s always excited.

BDN: How would you describe how he approaches you? Is it more like a friend or a teacher, or a coach?

ML: He approaches me as a teacher. I see him as a real great teacher that I can learn from.

BDN: Tell me about your relationship with your brother. Obviously he’s a major influence in your life.

ML: He’s the brain of everything. He gets me here on time, he figures everything out. He’s also my consultant. He’ll talk to me throughout the year and . . .

BDN: Keeps you level-headed?

ML: YES! He does everything.

BDN: What are you hoping to see when you go on your visits?

ML: Something to catch my eye. I don’t really know what it is, but I just know once I see it something will tell me to go here.

BDN: Is family atmosphere important for you?

ML: Yes, family atmosphere is extremely important.

BDN: Will you be staying at Deer Valley this year?

ML: Yeah, I’m staying at Deer Valley.

BDN: OK, just because there had been rumors in the past.

ML: (laughs) No, I’m repping Deer Valley until I die.

BDN: Do you feel like you have to be more vocal or is that something that comes naturally to you?

ML: I don’t believe I can get any more vocal than I already am. I don’t think anybody can get more vocal than me. It’s just the way I am. It just happens naturally. I don’t know where it comes from.

BDN: Do you feel there`s a difference between your role in AAU and high school?

ML: There really isn’t a difference.  It’s just that in high school I have to make sure everybody is on the same page, whereas on AAU, I already know for sure they’re on the same page.

BDN: Thanks a lot, Marcus.

ML: All right.  Thank you. [/private]

Elite 24 Coverage of Duke Prospects on BDN Premium

Team BDN is in place in California where we are covering the Elite 24 for Premium members.  Get all the latest updates from today's practice and Saturday's game by joining today!  Several key Duke prospects are playing in the prestigious event, including Tyus Jones, Justise Winslow, Julius Randle, Marcus Lee and Austin Nichols, so you do not want to miss the action!  Join BDN Premium today and discuss the latest happenings with fellow members on the BDN Premium Message Board.

Nike Peach Jam Friday Day Session Updates – Duke prospects shine

Julius Randle is tearing up the Nike Peach Jam, and BDN is here to bring you all the action. Check out Andrew Slater's in- depth interview with the "Real JR" and then as a Premium member you can watch our two videos of Randle from Augusta and get all the updates as they happen. A ton of information awaits you as a BDN Premium member, so join today and see what you've been missing out on. Photo copyright Rick Crank and BDN

The Nike Peach Jam is in full swing and we are here in South Carolina to bring you updates on all the action and the latest on the many Duke prospects here.  Austin Nichols, Matt Jones, Julius Randle, Justise Winslow, Theo Pinson, and Jahlil Okafor are but a few of the informative interviews we have on tap.  In addition, there are some younger kids starting to catch the staff's eye as well.  You can learn about them and much more as a member.  Considering the bevy of interviews we have up for Blue Devil Nation Premium members, if you've been on the fence about it, this is the perfect time to join.

Here is the recap of the Friday day session:

Howard Pulley 74 Team Texas 65

First of all, this game had some intensity to it, as Roy Williams, Billy Donovan, Tom Izzo, the Duke staff and others crowded the court to the point where they would not let any more people into the gym once the game started.  The game was much closer than the score indicates. A Julius Randle turnover allowed Pulley to go up 4, but he then came down to score and "and one" inside, which cut it to 1 with little time left. Pulley's Tyus Jones drew a triple team and found an open teammate for a 3 and that pretty much sealed the deal. After a Team Texas miss, Jones quickly scored again on a drive and then assisted on another trey and that made the final score 74-65.  Despite his team being upset, Randle was a beast again, scoring 31 points and grabbing 17 boards.  While aggressiveness is something Randle thrives on (and as he told BDN, he feels he can take anybody off the dribble at any time) his aggression sometimes causes turnovers and could also make him foul prone at the next level.  But the big picture with Randle is he is a big-time force on the floor.  One coach sitting beside me quipped, "It's hard to evaluate the players around him and those who defend him in that he's so good." I have to agree. Then there was Tyus Jones, a smooth, spunky leader on the court who thinks [private] "team first," yet still gets his own shots too. Jones's late heroics helped his team to a win; he finished with 24 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Randle and Jones are now the number one and two scorers at the entire event.

Capel will follow Team Texas

Jeff Capel has been sitting with his brother Jason for much of the camp today. Capel said he would go to Orlando and the AAU Nationals and be anywhere Julius Randle and Matt Jones were playing. So, yes, there will always be a Duke presence as Randle nears his decision.

Semi Ojeleye continues to play well

Ojeleye scored 20 points and grabbed 3 boards as his team coasted past Bluff City Legends. I just love his size and strength.  I have a mini-interview coming with Semi.  I will tell you that the Duke staff feels really good about their chances with him, and that it could be over in the near future. He's just a Duke kid through and through.

Jahlil Okafor struggles?

Part of the problem is his own play, but part is his teammates just not looking for him.  While I think the latter is the main culprit, still Jahlil was not impressive in Mac Irvin's loss to CIA Bounce. He fouled out in 15 minutes of play and his numbers were dismal:  2 points and 0 rebounds. He has not helped himself here so far.  By the way, Andrew Wiggins had 21 points for CIA.  He is one of the four best players in camp.

Oh Boo!

The dysfunctional bunch known as Boo Williams is again winless. In their first game, Anthony "Cat" Barber and Al Freeman jawed hard at one another, and it took a while for Barber to let it go. Talent and no production makes college coaches pause.  Freeman and his game are still a bit of a wreck.  Note: the Duke staff has not watched a single game this squad has played. And wasn't star forward Troy Williams supposed to have decided? Hmm.

Marcus Lee struggles as well

Marcus Lee is foul prone in a big way, and he once again finished the game on the bench as California Supreme lost again, and is now 0-3. Lee had 2 points and 5 boards; his offense is anemic. Yes he's talented and long, but putting all the hype aside, he is a little overrated and I am not the only one who feels that way.

Justise Winslow

From my conversation with him, this really seems like a good kid. He has recently been offered by Calipari and Kentucky, and he spoke highly of them, but Duke is on his list and he also spoke well of Coach K and his recent U-17 camp experience with Team USA. His production here has been good; he went for 16 points and 8 rebounds in his team's two point win this morning.

Yes, Theo!  You do have an offer!

Theo Pinson has had an offer for over eight months.  Odd how nobody knew, but the bottom line is he does now.  More may come out from this, not that it even matters at this point.  In the morning game he scored 23 points to lead CP3 to a 75-71 win over California Supreme.

Nichols Interview

Don't miss Andrew's interview with Austin Nichols.  The Duke coaches feel he will take all five of his visits before deciding.


Checking In With Marcus Lee

6'9" Marcus Lee, Photo by Andrew Slater


There are certain moments in life where, based upon your actions, your life changes. For 6'9" Marcus Lee of Antioch, California, his performances with his California Supreme team at the EYBL in Minnesota potentially changed the course of his life. After the event, scholarship offers flooded in from programs across the country.  His brother, Bryan, a former basketball standout at Grand Canyon University, and a recruiter for Google, has been the primary filter for Marcus's calls. One of the schools that immediately contacted Marcus following the EYBL event was Duke University.

Seven weeks later, Marcus is now scheduled to travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to participate in the NBPA Top 100 Camp. As the sixth-leading shot-blocker in the EYBL, Lee was instrumental in forging California Supreme's 16-4 record, which helped the team qualify for next month's Peach Jam in South Carolina.

Duke Recruit Marcus Lee, Photo by Andrew SlaterRecently, I spoke with Marcus about, among other things, that life-changing weekend in Minnesota, about speaking with Coach Mike Krzyzewski, as well as Bryan's reaction to the newfound interest in his younger brother.





What was your initial reaction when offers started coming in from all around the country?

I was pretty surprised. I thought I was just sort of settling in and then...


Did it change your life, to a degree?

Yeah, it did. Yeah, it changed everything. It changed it to the point where after school I was having a lot of phone calls coming in and I just don't have any more free time. (laughs)

 Do you like it?

Yeah, I love it! I mean I sometimes get headaches, but it's all worth it. It's been great.


What are you trying to gain or learn from your visits?

How they do stuff around each campus..I really want to talk to people. I feel that I've got a lot of questions for people. 


What does your brother think about all of this fuss? I remember that he was, in some ways, your guiding light.

Yeah, yeah, he's just trying to keep everything away from me… so far. 

Does he handle everything, for the most part?

Yeah, he handles pretty much everything. He tries to be supportive.


What was it like in the match-up with Jahlil Okafor? He's another recruit that I've spoken to a lot.

I thought it was great. He's really one of the toughest kids I've gone against. He's a really big kid, very fundamentally sound. It was a lot of fun.


One of the schools that has shown interest in you so far is UCLA. What do you know about them?

I want to find out more about them. I know a little bit about them because they're roughly in my area. I think I'd like to take a look around. I mean, I've always had a good relationship with them. 


When they offered you, was it pretty exciting?

My brother called me and he said that they're going to call you to probably offer you and then I got a call and it was just amazing.


You're sort of known for your shot-blocking. Out of curiosity, who are the hardest guys for you to try to defend?

 Probably one of the bigger or, like, stronger types. Like guarding all these top big men in the EYBL is like, man, I mean, they get the ball, and I get pounded. I try to block their shots and defend them, but a lot of them are tough.


Can you talk a little bit about San Diego State? (other reporter)

San Diego State is always in my ear. They're always really, like, a nice program. I just would like to learn more about them, but they're really nice though.


Do you think it would be hard to leave the West Coast?

I'm not sure. I don't think so. 

Have you thought about starting to pare it down?

I think about it a little bit, but I really feel that I should just stay open right now. So far, I have no idea what I'd like to narrow it down to..maybe a little later I will.


How do you feel you and your team are playing right now? Do you feel, in some ways, that this is, for lack of a better phrase, the best Marcus Lee that we have seen?

Yeah, this is probably the best Marcus. (laughs)

 Sorry to force you into the third person. I didn't want you to become a diva wide receiver or a boxer just yet..

(laughs) Yeah, in terms of the team, I think we try to separate ourselves by being a very family-like setting. Other teams, they seem to want to compete against themselves and other teams. We try to help each other out..that's our whole goal in this.

That's unusual.

Yeah, yeah. I'm sure you noticed that.


How is it playing in front of your family? Is it a different dynamic?

 It's probably the hardest thing. 

 Oh, really, it's actually harder?

 Oh, yeah, much, much harder. I feel like I have to meet much higher expectations when they're here. 

 I remember that you mentioned during a prior interview with me that your brother was your role model in basketball, not necessarily a current pro or college basketball player. I know that he was a Division II All-American. 

 Yeah, when he came into college, he was more of a scorer. He tried to focus on that.

 Was he generally a different type of player than you?

 Yeah, he's exactly the same. He would always try to do the little things to help the team win, things that might not show up in a box score. He got a lot of joy out of basketball. 

 Well, you seem to get a lot of joy out of playing basketball and life. What would you say is your favorite part about playing basketball? It seems like you like to run and block shots.

 Yeah, I love to block shots. They get so happy thinking that they're going to lay it in and I come by and just… swat! I just love doing the little things. I love winning and just being part of a team.

When I was talking to Jahlil, he was amazed at your speed. He had never seen you play before. He was amazed at your speed going up and down the court for a fellow big guy. That was his take on you. What was it like when you received the Duke offer? What was your reaction?

Well, my brother put Coach K's number in my phone. I wasn't sure if it was a joke, but then I got out of school and I was going through my phone and I saw Coach K's number coming up and I was, like, whoa, and then I was just sitting there and there was just a voicemail from Coach K and I, like, had to call him right back.

What did he say when you finally spoke to him? 

Oh, he was extremely excited. He had a whole bunch of enthusiasm in his voice. 

For those in the audience who haven't gone through that experience, what did he say?

He was just, like, well, he told me that I was, like, an amazing player. He was just, like, he wanted to, like, work me out and get me better.


What did he appreciate about you most?

He liked that I was so happy out there on the court and my energy.

They like high energy guys.

Yeah, I think that's what they liked about me most.

Thanks a lot, Marcus.

Oh, sure thing, man.


Marcus Lee shares the latest since Duke offer

Marcus Lee - BDN Photo

It never seems to fail that when Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski makes an offer that other schools will soon follow and that is the case with Marcus Lee who has been swarmed by media.  BDN followed up with him after the Duke offer with this exclusive one on one [private] video chat.

More to come on BDN Premium - [/private]

The Next Big Thing: 6’9″ Marcus Lee

6'9" Marcus Lee, Photo by Andrew Slater

Some talents are identified early, but every year there are a few players that blossom later in life. One young man, 6'9" Marcus Lee, used his unusual mix of speed, size, and jumping ability this weekend to catapult onto every major program's radar. [private]  Lee, who is a gregarious and fun-loving young man, is from Antioch, California, an East Bay city of more than one hundred thousand people.


An all-league volleyball player with a wingspan of 86", he's tried to carve out a niche as a superior shot-blocker and rebounder. This past season for his Deer Valley HS, he registered fifteen triple-doubles and averaged nearly fourteen rebounds, fourteen points, and just over nine blocks per game en route to being named co-MVP of the Bay Valley Athletic League. The Northern California big man helped the Deer Valley Wolverines win their first league title and make their first NCS title game. He ended the season on a tear registering a triple-double of twenty-one points, twelve rebounds, and eleven blocks in the NCS semi-finals and scoring twenty-two points in the title game before fouling out with with 3:54 in regulation. Offensively, he demonstrates good court vision for a big man, a trait which may be attributable to spending a little time playing some point guard for his high school team.


This past weekend, he helped the California Supreme and head coach Miles Simon, the former Arizona player and coach, go undefeated at the Minnesota leg of Nike's EYBL. Duke coaches Krzyzewski, Capel, and Wojciechowski all watched Lee, a B+ student, score twelve points, block four shots, and grab five rebounds in a win against the Louisiana Select in twenty-six minutes.


Marcus' older brother and mentor, Bryan Lee, was an all-Pacific West player at Grand Canyon University, a Division II program in Phoenix, and currently works as a technical recruiter for Google. Lee, who played last year for the Bay Area Hoosiers on the AAU circuit, credits his older brother for his development. When thinking about colleges, he's looking for a warm climate and a coach that makes him feel comfortable, in a similar manner to his AAU coach, Miles Simon.


After the last game was over, Marcus, spoke with Blue Devil Nation about a variety of issues, including Duke's interest and Miles Simon.


Let's just start with a basic one. How do you feel that you and the team played this weekend?

Oh, I feel that I played great. I love playing in the national events and the team really played well together,  which helped us get wins and was probably unlike any other team here. We played really as a unit. It was just great.

Shot-blocking is obviously something that you're known for. Talk about that skill and your background in volleyball.

Oh, yeah, sure, volleyball is just a different type of jumping. It helps and I wish could explain it, but it just does.

Well, one guard that I know said that the plyometrics training in volleyball helped with his explosion for basketball.

Yeah, I think that's it.

How much of shot-blocking for you has been about improving your timing?

Yeah, well, that's been the key and volleyball has been great about that because it's all about timing. Now, that I think about volleyball also helps you to calm down and just concentrate on timing. It's very calming and you just block out other things.


So, you find it almost peaceful.

Oh, yeah, definitely.


I know that you've grown a little bit. What's your reach right now, if you happen to know?

Oh, yeah, it's 7'2."


I heard that you were trying to carve a niche as a shotblocker and rebounding specialist. Playing to your strengths to set yourself apart from some other guys.

Oh, yeah, well, I mean I started to think about blocking shots first and about how that was something that I was really good at and I'm 6'9"…So, I thought that I should first just concentrate on making myself the best at that and then the rest of my game would improve as well. It was just something that I thought I was good at and, you know, I thought why not concentrate on trying to make myself really good at that.


What position are most schools recruiting you as, a four or a five?

Dude, I just don't know.

Well, what position do prefer to play?

I just want to play. So, wherever they tell me to play, I'll go do it, man. I'm just happy to be out there.


How do you feel that your offense is coming along?

Oh, it's been great. I'm having fun. When you're having fun, you can't lose.


Let's move onto recruiting. What programs are recruiting you right now?

Everybody really. A lot of schools


What about a timeline? Do you have a time when you'd like to decide by or cut down on your list?

No, I'm in no real rush with that. I don't have any plans or anything like that.


Who will be some people that you will turn to for guidance, whenever you do decide?

Oh, yeah, my brother, Bryan, and my coach, I mean, my Uncle Mark.


I was reading that a school with warm weather is something that you were serious about. Is that accurate and will distance be a factor as well?

Oh, yeah, I've got to be in warm weather, but distance really doesn't matter or bother me.


Is there a player that you've tried to model your game after?

Actually, my brother. I've tried to model his game.


That's unique. Usually, guys will say a pro or hot college player. Were you a fan of any team growing up?

I've always been a North Carolina fan.

North Carolina?


Well, that may make the next question a bit rough.

(laughs) Oh, really.

What about Duke's interest in you? They watched you play a few times this weekend. How do you feel about their interest in you and would you be open to them, given your prior answer?

Oh, yeah, man, it was funny because we actually were talking them watching us for, like, the whole time while we were on the bench. It was amazing. We loved it.


Alright, well, then let me just ask if you personally would be open to them?

Oh, yeah, man, totally. I'd be way open to them. Way open!


Have you taken any visits recently and do you have any planned?

No, I haven't taken any visits recently and I actually don't have any really planned either.


Let's talk about Miles Simon and his coaching.

Oh, he's been amazing. He's very encouraging and he's a high energy guy. He's very supportive and encouraging to everybody on the team. He's always ready and prepared. He's an excellent motivator. Even when we're a bit sluggish or not ready, he'll be like, "Yeah, let's go! Let's go!" (laughs) He gets the guys energized and motivated. It's been fun to play for him.


What are you hoping to show coaches this AAU season?

I really don't know. I'm not sure.


What would you like the audience to know about you away from the court?

That I'm just a really good, chill guy.


What's your current height?

Oh, 6'9"


How does AAU compare to the high school ball for you?

Oh, everybody's much bigger and the teams are just stacked at this level. Almost every player here will be college ball at some level. Everybody's huge too.


What are your goals, short and long-term?

Just to never really get big-headed. I don't want to become someone else or ever think that I'm too good for people. To always be approachable and grounded..


What style of play do you prefer to play?

A good, chill running gazelle type of play. (laughs) Just let's run. That's what I like. 


Do you actually watch a lot of basketball?

Actually, between school and basketball, I really have a hard time watching basketball. There's just not enough time.


Lastly, what will you be looking for in a college program, other than the weather?

I'll be looking for a coaching staff that's encouraging and supportive.

Like you were saying about Miles Simon?

Yeah, someone like him and a place that I can feel comfortable in and a fun place to play basketball and go to school.


By the way, where did your play basketball?

Oh, Grand Canyon University.


Thank you very much, Marcus. I know you guys are trying to catch a plane.

Oh, sure, no problem.[/private]