When talking about new Kentucky commitment Marcus Lee on Wednesday night, California Supreme AAU director Gary Franklin started to make a comparison between his former pupil and a recent Wildcat.
First, he tried to make one thing clear.
“I don’t want to try and compare any players to any other players,” Franklin said as a disclaimer.
“But a player like Anthony Davis has done well … and (Marcus) has those attributes where he can block shots, he can run the floor, he doesn’t need a lot of shots,” Franklin continued. “He’s willing to share the ball. He’s a great, great teammate. He’ll fit well in the Kentucky mold.”
Franklin, who recruited Lee to play for California Supreme last spring, stressed that he was not comparing the entirety of Lee’s game to Davis, the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft.
But there are similarities, and Lee’s shot-blocking ability is one of them. As a junior at Deer Valley High School last season, the 6-foot-9 forward averaged an amazing 9.1 blocks per game.
But basketball isn’t his only sport.
Lee is also an accomplished volleyball player. He helped lead Deer Valley’s squad to a 37-4 record last season and a deep run in the state tournament.
The future Wildcat also led his volleyball team with 73 blocks, according to MaxPreps.com. That was more than double the block total for the next-best player at Deer Valley.
And his time spent playing volleyball helped him become a better shot-blocker on the basketball court.
Davis would have been lauded for his unbelievable shot-blocking numbers during his freshman season at UK no matter where the basketballs ended up. But he drew more praise for controlling his rejections and putting himself or a teammate in a position to gain possession.
That, Franklin says, is where Lee excels.
“(Volleyball) helped his timing — how to go and get the shot and not just swing at it,” Franklin said. “You have to control the ball in volleyball. There’s a little art to it.”