Lee Has 'Pro Potential'

Iowa State head coach Wayne Morgan went into this recruiting class knowing that he could be just one dominant post player away from taking his program to the next level in the Big 12 Conference. Therefore, the Cyclone coaching staff should be ecstatic with its most recent addition for the 2005-06 season.

Laurinburg (N.C.) Prep big man Kellen Lee gave ISU a commitment Wednesday night, and joins Ames High post player Ross Marsden to give Morgan a pair of inside players in this class.

Lee's path to Division I basketball will not be as simple as Marsden's however. The 7-foot, 200-pound center didn't play high school basketball in Denver, Colo., and instead worked to support his mother and family. The summer Lee spent on the AAU circuit gave college coaches their first look at this talented prospect.

It was his stop in Las Vegas where the Cyclones got their first look at him.

"I think they saw him in Vegas during the summer and all of the talent he had," said Laurinburg head coach Chris Chaney. "All of the people that saw him then were calling me about him. Coach (Damon) Archibald did his homework on him and did everything he could possibly do.

"When they found out he was going to Laurinburg they knew they could get it done, because we have been pretty close to them. Everybody on the East Coast thinks Iowa State is a very up-and-coming program. It's an unreal get for them."

In addition to the Cyclones, Lee drew serious interest from Arkansas, Cincinnati, and Michigan since blowing up this summer.

"I know those schools were calling about him," Chaney said. "Everyone who comes out here knows that we do a good job of getting kids qualified and to become better players. They know he's going to succeed. Unfortunately, it's a little too late for everybody else."

Although Lee is viewed as a sleeper nationally, he has loads of potential that left D-I programs drooling over him.

"He's a diamond in the rough, and is a very talented young guy," Chaney said. "He's very long and can play the three through the five. He can shoot it from three-point range and has a lot of skills on the court. If he were a kid that signed late, with all of the people watching our team, there wouldn't be a school in the country that wouldn't be after him. It's a great get for Iowa State."

Lee's coach compares him to Kevin Garnett, in terms of his build and how much he can improve.

"He's one of those kids that has pro potential, just because he's 6-11, very long, and can do a lot of different things," Chaney said. "He looks just like Kevin Garnett. He's that tall and that long. Not to compare him to Kevin Garnett, but he has that potential and upside.

"With the talent we have around here, he's going to get better and better every day, because we work a lot on fundamentals and play a lot of games. Every day in practice he's going to be playing against somebody very good. Those type of kids just get better and better. We think he has a great future in the game of basketball."

Laurinburg already has 10 high-major signees, in Chaney's estimation, and could send up to 15 players to Division I programs. Although he'll be competing for playing time with a stacked roster, Lee should fit in well to Chaney's plans.

"I think he'll play a lot of different positions," Laurinburg's coach said. "We play a lot of games, and run and press a lot. He'll fit in real well with our group. It should be a good year for everybody."

In addition to Lee and Marsden, the Cyclones also have a commitment from Boston (Mass.) O'Bryant combo guard Farnold Degand.


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