Lee Could Be Key For Jayhawks

Often times in the NCAA Tournament, just a few points off the bench can be the difference between winning and losing. <p> Enter Mike Lee.

Overall, Lee has played in 20 games this season, starting three. Lee is averaging 18.8 minutes a game, scoring 5.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.65 assists per game.

Though Lee's 34.8% shooting percentage and 31.6% from three are not eye-popping, and Lee has scored in double-figures just twice, as a whole, Lee has once again provided the Jayhawks with solid play of the KU bench.

Lee began the season as a starter before injuring his shoulder prior to the TCU game. Lee missed the next nine games. But if there was a positive from Lee's injury, it was the play of freshman J.R. Giddens.

Giddens was immediately inserted into the starting lineup and played well scoring 12 points on the road against TCU. Giddens progressed nicely over the course of the year providing the team with a long-range three-point threat and some high-flying dunks along the way. Giddens has scored in double figures 17 times this season and for his play, Giddens earned a spot on the All Big 12 Freshman team.

Upon Lee's return to the lineup, he scored 16 points off the bench in KU's win at home against K-State 73-67. Lee has since given the Jayhawks another perimeter threat which has helped open the passing lanes inside to Wayne Simien.

Recently Lee has logged some minutes at the backup point guard spot spelling Aaron Miles and should Keith Langford's ailing right knee force him to the sideline, (remember Jerod Haase's wrist in '97?) Lee figures to see the majority of those minutes.

With KU's injury status, and being a little short-handed depth wise, some experts have predicted the Jayhawks will fall to UCI in the first-round.

"We have to be ready for the impossible," Lee said. "When the tournament starts, you can't even imagine the things that happen. Anything can happen, and we just have to be prepared to play each game."

Last season Lee played in all but one of the Jayhawks' 38 games averaging 5.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and one assist in 16 minutes per game. Lee connected on 60 of his 122 field goal attempts, half of his 42 three-pointers, hit 73% from the foul-line, played solid defense and gathered 27 steals for the Jayhawks. For his sophomore season, Lee earned the Clyde Lovellette Most Improved Player Award.

Last season in the NCAA Tournament, Lee was solid as usual, scoring 5 points against Duke and Syracuse, 8 against Arizona, 10 against Arizona State and 13 against Marquette.

However, Lee is most remembered for a his late-game three-pointer which was blocked by Syracuse's Hakim Warrick. Warrick's block preserved Syracuse's 81-78 win over Kansas in the Championship game.

Lee, however, is hoping to erase that memory from New Orleans with new ones in Kansas City.

"The atmosphere in the room when we saw we got a four seed and were playing in Kansas City, was great. Everybody was happy, everybody was smiling, and we were all thinking we can do this," Lee said.

"It can definitely be a big boost for our team. Right after I heard, I called my mom and told her that I felt rejuvenated already being able to play in Kansas City. It's a whole new season now."

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