Lee announces he'll return to Wildcats

Marcus Lee

Marcus Lee averaged only 6.3 minutes per game as a freshman, but his remarkable performance against Michigan in Kentucky's improbable run to the Final Four helped put the intriguing center/forward on the NBA's draft watch list.

Marcus Lee averaged only 6.3 minutes per game as a freshman, but his remarkable performance against Michigan in Kentucky's improbable run to the Final Four helped put the intriguing center/forward on the NBA's draft watch list.

On Friday, UK issued a statement confirming Lee's intent to return to the Wildcats for his sophomore season.

"I've really enjoyed my college experience and I'm looking forward to continuing to develop as an all-around player," Lee said. "Playing in the Final Four was such an amazing feeling, but I want to come back and help win that final game this year."

The 6-foot-9 California native averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds this season for Kentucky. His minutes were limited playing behind a front line that included Julius Randle, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson, but when Cauley-Stein went down with an ankle injury in the NCAA Tournament, Lee responded with a 10-point, eight-rebound, two-block performance in the Elite Eight against Michigan. He earned All-Midwest Region Tournament honors for his surprising clutch performance off the bench.

With Randle expected to declare for the draft, Lee should have an opportunity to make a bigger impact in 2014-15.

"I'm excited for Marcus and think he's barely scratched the surface of what he's capable of," UK ccoach John Calipari said. "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."

The NBA Early Entry deadline is at 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 27. The Wildcats are still awaiting word on Randle, Johnson and twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

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