Cal adds Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee after visits to Berkeley

Cal scores a commitment from Kentucky transfer Marcus Lee, who is transferring to be closer to his family after pulling his name out of the NBA Draft.

Four years and one new coaching staff after coming in second to Kentucky for five-star McDonald’s All-American Marcus Lee, California finally has gotten its man, a team source told BearTerritory on Saturday.

After a pair of visits to Berkeley, and one to Washington, the 6-foot-9, 224-pounder out of Antioch (Calif.) Deer Valley committed to play for the Golden Bears in 2017-18, after sitting the requisite year after transferring from Kentucky. Lee visited Berkeley less than a week after pulling out of the NBA Draft, and then declaring his intention to transfer to be closer to family. He also visited Cal officially over the last two days, following a trip to Washington.

Lee averaged 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots for the Wildcats this past season, and will be able to take up the scholarship slot of junior shooting guard Jordan Mathews, who announced on Tuesday that he would be a graduate transfer, after taking his degree from Cal this summer.

Lee will join a frontcourt that will be stocked with experience, in Kingsley Okoroh and Kameron Rooks – who will be seniors when Lee is eligible – and one needing a dynamic force at the four, as Ivan Rabb will likely be headed to the NBA Draft after this coming season.

The Bears are set to take up to five players in the 2017 recruiting class, as Rabb, Jabari Bird, Stephen DomingoRoger Moute a Bidias and Sam Singer will all be gone after this coming season. Lee will lead a team that will in all likelihood have a completely overhauled starting lineup, likely with Charlie Moore at the point.

Lee’s experience at a championship level, his strength, athleticism and length (he has a 7-foot-3 wingspan) will make him a center piece for a team that will need a firm, veteran hand on the floor. Not only is he a staunch rim protector – with 59 blocks last season – but he’s also a force on the inside, hitting 71.4 percent (60 of 84) of his shots within five feet of the cup last season.

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