UK: Marcus Lee will return next season

Freshman Marcus Lee will return to the Kentucky basketball team next season, UK announced Friday.

“I’ve really enjoyed my college experience and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player,” Lee said in a statement. “Playing in the Final Four was such an amazing feeling, but I want to come back and help win that final game (next) year.”

Lee’s decision came as no surprise. During this past season, his brother dismissed speculation of a transfer by saying that Lee came to UK looking for long-term improvement. Relatively little playing time as a freshman was not an issue, he said.

Lee, one of six McDonald’s All-Americans in UK’s freshman class, had a moment in the sun against Michigan in the Midwest Region final. With teammate Willie Cauley-Stein sidelined because of an ankle injury, Lee scored 10 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots.

“I’m excited for Marcus and think he’s barely scratched the surface of what he’s capable of,” Coach John Calipari said in a statement.  “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.”

Lee became the third UK player to announce a decision about his basketball future. Earlier in the week, James Young said he would enter this year’s NBA Draft, and Cauley-Stein said he would return to UK.