ANTIOCH -- With an ESPN crew and dozens of friends, family members and classmates on hand, Deer Valley High basketball star Marcus Lee orally committed to Kentucky on Wednesday.
Rated a five-star prospect by Rivals, Lee chose the defending NCAA champions over Cal during a ceremony at his school's gymnasium.
The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward made his decision just days after returning from his official visit to Kentucky, where he was on hand for the program's Midnight Madness celebration "Big Blue Madness."
At the ceremony, Deer Valley basketball coach LeChet Phillips and volleyball coach Lou Panzella both spoke to Lee's talent and character before Lee took the floor and announced his decision.
"The atmosphere (at Kentucky) is crazy," Lee said. "Once I got there I got treated with so much love. ... The coaches force-fed me love and passion. I felt like if I was going to go somewhere really far and my parents weren't going to be there I felt I had other types of parents that were going to look out for me."
Lee's announcement ended days of speculation by Kentucky's rabid fan base that he was on the verge of committing to the eight-time national champions. Lee was trending nationwide on Twitter in the hour after giving his commitment.
He joins a Kentucky recruiting class that ESPN has already deemed No. 1 in the nation. The class also includes twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Texas and Minnesota's James Young. All three are guards and are considered top 10 prospects by Rivals and ESPN. Rivals rates Lee, a center/power forward, as the No. 15 prospect in the nation. ESPN has him at No. 28.
"I don't think you can get anything better," Lee said of his future teammates.
According to Rivals, Lee held over 30 offers, a list that included Duke, Louisville, Kansas, Indiana and UCLA.
Lee can sign his letter of intent on Nov. 14, the first day of the early signing period.
Lee, best known for his defense and shot-blocking abilities, averaged 13.9 points, 13.9 rebounds and 9.1 blocks in 2011-2012 as the Wolverines won the Bay Valley Athletic League title and advanced to the North Coast Section Division I championship game.