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Marcus Lee is down to Cal and ... Cal?


Cal head coach Mike Montgomery has been killing it on the recruiting trail this summer.

He’s already earned commitments from a pair of talented shooting guards from California in five-star recruit Jabari Bird and four-star prospect Jordan Matthews. He’s also in the mix for a couple of other talented players from the state, one of whom -- Aaron Gordon -- may be the best athlete in the country.

But Gordon still has a long way to go in his recruitment.

Marcus Lee doesn’t.

Cal’s in his final two, and they’ll be facing off with ... Cal?

Coach Cal, that is, as Kentucky is the other team still on Lee’s radar.

I saw Lee play at the Nike Global Challenge in DC. He was impressive. He stands 6-foot-9, and while he’s still a big slender, he can block shots, rebound the ball and showed off a nice touch around the basket. There’s a reason he’s considered a top 30 prospect, and we all know what Coach Cal does with the prospects he brings in.

But here’s the hang-up: Kyle Wiltjer was a top 30 prospect as well. He was overshadowed as a freshman on Kentucky, and while he may end up seeing a lot of time this season, if Kentucky brings in the kind of recruiting class in 2013 that everyone expects them to bring in, Wiltjer will be headed right back to the bench.

In addition to Lee, the Wildcats are heavily involved with, well, everyone at the top of the rankings: Jabari Parker, the Harrison twins, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon and even Andrew Wiggins, who many expect to reclassify to 2013.

Lee will annually be on a team that contends for national titles at Kentucky. And who knows, he could end up a one-and-done prospect there. But Coach Cal recruits on an entirely different level from the rest of the country. Top 30 prospects are bench-warmers that get recruited over in Lexington.

It’s a risk that Lee needs to be cognizant of.

(Photo credit: Nike)

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.