Early this semester, freshman Marcus Lee walked into the offices of The Kernel. He wanted to see how the University of Kentucky's student newspaper operated.
"I went there just as a sponge," he said. "... My mind kind of blew up when I got in there. It was pretty amazing. I saw how their advertisement works. Which I really love because I'd really love to do advertising in the TV sense or in newspapers."
When talking with Lee, it doesn't take long to realize he enjoys expanding his consciousness. The trip to The Kernel settled his mind, perhaps only for the moment, on advertising as a long-term career.
"I tweeted it out," he said. "I was, like, yes, I finally know what I want to do in life."
Never miss a local story.
Officials at The Kernel welcomed his exploratory visit and were happy to work around the schedule of a UK basketball player, Lee said.
"What's good about The Kernel is they're telling me to do it whenever I have time to do it," he said. "So it's nothing like, 'Oh, you weren't here, so you're not really into this.'"
Instead, the impression made on Lee was, "We know you have sports, so whenever you have time, you can come in and work.'
"Which is great," he said.
The Kernel's only restriction: Lee couldn't work on advertising that promotes UK basketball. Conflict of interest, you know.
Although Lee sounded set on advertising as an off-court career, it wouldn't be surprising if he considered alternatives. He recalled crossing onto the wrong side of the metaphorical tracks running through the sports world and giving sportswriting a try. He wrote for his high school newspaper.
"I was also the ad manager for them, which I guess started it," he said. "I sort of dabble into everything and see if I like it. I guess I started liking (advertising)."
Fittingly for someone interested in advertising, Lee comes to Kentucky with something of a personal trademark: his mohawk haircut.
"It's my logo, if you want to call it (that)," he said. "An icon."
Lee began wearing the mohawk two years ago. He admired the style when he saw it on Torren Jones, a teammate on the Elite Youth Basketball League team California Supreme.
"We were the two bang brothers," he said. "So we both had the mohawks, and I kept it ever since because it was different and I loved it."
During John Calipari's four seasons as coach, Kentucky has become noted for hair styles. Nerlens Noel sported the high-top fade. Before him Anthony Davis trademarked the unibrow.
"It's always been some kind of trait," Lee said. "I thought it was pretty cool I kept that up."
No doubt UK basketball would embrace the notion of Lee continuing the on-court excellence displayed by Davis and Noel. Calipari said Lee should concentrate on defending, blocking shots and running the floor. "Do that," the UK coach said he told Lee. "We'll figure out your offense."
Lee also wants to add bulk. He came to UK weighing 205 pounds. He said he hopes by the first game to weigh 215 pounds, which is the weight listed by UK.
Uniform number: 00
Height, weight: 6-9, 215
Hometown: Antioch, Calif.
High school: Deer Valley