The 6-foot-7, 220-pound power forward from Santa Monica (Calif.) Crossroads is a player whose athleticism, motor and rebounding ability will come in handy in Tucson.
What kind of player is Arizona getting in Lee?
Early on in his career, Lee’s reputation was an athletic rebounder but Scout’s 80th ranked 2017 prospect is pleased with his development since then.
“I've developed a lot,” Lee said. “I came in as a freshman and everyone knew I could dunk and rebound. People know now that I can step out and make plays for myself along with my teammates.”
Lee has really improved his ability to score, especially from midrange and in. He’s able to knock down midrange jumpers and has a go-to move with his left-handed hook shot, two parts of his game that he didn’t display as a freshman.
A big part of Lee’s development has been due to his work ethic, according to his coach at Crossroads, Chad Beeten.
“First and foremost he’s a quality kid,” Beeten said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s a leader on the floor verbally and with his work ethic. He has a winning mentality.”
That winning mentality was a big part of an Earl Watson Elite AAU team that finished this summer with a Fab 48 championship.
“With what Ira brought to that group, we ended up winning the Fab 48,” said Ira’s father, Zeph Lee. “Every time Ira has had the chance to go against the country’s elite he has done well due to the intangibles and X-factor he brings to the court.”
Lee’s athleticism, motor and rebounding ability all translate easily to the next level. Arizona’s recruiting pitch to Lee included being upfront with how he can continue to develop on his strengths.
“They were just very honest with him about what he needs in terms of his development,” said Beeten. “They were very straight with him. They talked about what he brings to the table, how he fits into current program, how they can make him better and how all that combined will fit into future for him.”
Ryan Silver, who coached Lee with Earl Watson Elite, feels strongly about Lee’s mentality and drive to improve.
“He’s a tremendous warrior and relentless competitor,” said Silver. “He’s an absolute warrior. He brings a sense of winning every single game.”