While John Calipari planned to run two distinct platoons this year because of the team's tremendous depth, as the season wore on, seven players have been playing between 20 and 26 minutes per game. Alex Poythress was injured eight games into the season, and two other players—Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee—have taken on slightly smaller roles in Kentucky's rotation.
Lee averages just 11.4 minutes per game, and played just 22 total minutes in the SEC Tournament. Naturally, with Kentucky's constant influx of top recruits, fans have speculated about Lee's demeanor, and whether or not he is happy at Kentucky. The Courier-Journalspoke with Lee's brother Bryan, who had an interesting response. No, Lee is not "happy" with played just 11 minutes, but he is very enthusiastic about the team, and doesn't plan on leaving.
"I don't think you could ever say that a kid that's not playing as much as he feels that he should is completely happy," Lee's older brother Bryan told The Courier-Journal. "And I don't think Marcus could say that he's a competitor if he's saying he's happy not playing. As selfless as he is, the kid wants to play."
"He's excited to be there. I don't know where people keep getting the idea he's not," Bryan Lee said. "Marcus is very excited for the team success, and that's his focus. He's on a great team – they're undefeated – and he just needs to keep competing. But if people want to say, 'Yes, he's happy not playing,' I think that's stupid, too. Because why would you be happy playing 10 minutes, you know?
While John Calipari prides himself on putting players into the NBA, the one- or two-and-done career was never in the mix for Lee:
"We've always figured he would be in college three years or graduate, so this is kind of still in the plan. He gets to be a part of this – he's enjoying the position he's in – but he just wants to make a little bit more of an impact, and I think he's on pace to do that next year."
"He's gained 40 points since he's been there and he's getting better," Bryan said. "The whole point of going to Kentucky was figuring out how to become a monster."
Even with his small role in Kentucky's rotation, don't count Lee out in the coming weeks. Lee had one of the best performances of his career in the Elite Eight against Michigan last season, scoring 10 points and grabbing eight rebounds in just 15 minutes, after not seeing time in five of the previous seven games.