For the second consecutive season, the Southeastern Conference Community Service Team will have Marcus Lee as its Kentucky representative. The junior from Antioch, Calif., was tabbed to the 2016 team for his second career honor. He’s just the fourth player in program history to earn recognition to the league’s team for outreach efforts multiple times in a career. Saul Smith, Bobby Perry and Jodie Meeks were the others.
If there’s a community service project within the UK Athletics Department, you’ll most likely find Lee in the center of it. The 2016 Allstate Good Works nominee embodies the giving spirit in endless ways. Since his arrival to UK, Lee has given more than 100 hours to the community in a variety of avenues.
Lee is the treasurer of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and spearheads several department-wide projects. One of those projects is the God’s Pantry outreach in which members of the department pack school lunches and then distribute the lunches to the needy children at the schools. Lee always volunteers to go to the school that allows for an opportunity to also interact with the kids – whether that’s playing kickball or encouraging them to continue to do well in school. He also is one of the organizers of the UK Blanket Project in which all of UK’s athletes put together blankets and deliver them to sick children in the Children’s Hospital around the holidays. The department also volunteers with the Salvation Army during the holidays for bell-ringing duties at a local grocery store, and Lee has volunteered multiple times for that project. He also gives back when he returns to his hometown of Antioch, Calif. Lee is a frequent visitor of his former high school, Deer Valley, going back every time he is home and speaking to various classes he was once a part of.
With his teammates, he has worked with a Samaritan’s Feet project while visiting the Bahamas. Lee and his teammates washed the feet of young children and fitted them with new socks and shoes. He’s also visited local children’s hospitals while at the Final Four, as well as a fan who was injured while attending a game in Rupp Arena. Lee is one of the last players to leave the campout following the players delivering food to the Big Blue Madness campers each year.
Lee also cares about his own teammates and fellow athletes. He’s a mainstay in volunteering projects for UK Athletics events like the back to school picnic and the National Student Athlete Day. In the spring of 2015, one of the UK gymnasts was diagnosed with cancer. Lee was one of the biggest supporters in encouraging his fellow athletes to send get well cards, messages and phone calls to her during chemotherapy. During UK’s annual CATSPYs presentation, he took the time to have the entire auditorium cheer for support with a live Facetime call so she could see the entire department standing and supporting her.
Lee is enjoying the most successful season of his three-year career in helping UK contend for an SEC title. He is averaging career highs in points (6.7) and rebounds (6.4) while charting the first three double-doubles of his career.
This marks the 18th year for the SEC Community Service Team for men's basketball as well as for women's basketball. All 21 league sponsored sports have had a Community Service Team since 2004, with at‐large teams for men's and women's sports being chosen from 1999‐2003. The SEC began this concept with a football Community Service Team in 1994.
Lee and the Wildcats will conclude regular-season action on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they host LSU. The game will air live on CBS.