Getting Marist women’s basketball sophomore center Morgan Lee to Poughkeepsie has been in the works for over 10 years. Finally, this season, the 6’5’’ center is wearing the red and white jersey, something she has envisioned since she was just four years old.
Lee comes from a long line of Red Foxes, with former Marist men’s basketball assistant coach, Paul Lee as her father. Along with her brothers Tucker Lee ‘21, a four-year member of the men’s basketball team at Marist, and Conor Lee–a current senior at Marist– it is safe to say her coming to Dutchess County was always in the cards.
When Morgan Lee first went on a visit to Marist, she was only a sophomore in high school. She
eventually chose not to go to Marist during the first round of recruitment after high school.
Last season, Lee was a freshman center at Georgetown who played in 16 games, with most of those minutes towards the end of games. Due to the nature of the transfer portal, there are many transfers going from top-recruiting institutions to a mid-major looking to get more playing time and basketball experience, and Lee is no exception.
Despite moving on, Lee commented that she had a great experience playing for the Hoyas and improved on the defensive side of the court in her tenure.
“I take a lot of pride in academics and I am interested in political science, so D.C. and Georgetown seemed like a great place to go to,” said Lee. “I’m really happy that I went there. All my teammates were great, and I definitely got better. I showed up every day in practice and my defense definitely improved. Overall, offensively my mindset started to plummet. I started to not look for my shot as much.”
For Lee, she tried to keep her process under wraps in hopes of keeping it small. She mentioned how she had Ivy League offers, and even some of Marist’s rivals in the MAAC were scouting her.
“I tried to keep it pretty under wraps. I didn’t post about me in the transfer portal because I wanted to keep it small like what it was like when I first was in the process of getting recruited. After all, I knew that I wanted to be closer to home. I was even looking at Ivy schools,” said Lee.
After last season, first-year head coach Erin Doughty of the Marist women’s basketball team went into the portal looking for two things: shooting and post-scoring. Doughty praised Marist center Maeve Donnelly, but mentioned the lack of depth that the team suffered when she got injured last season. After the recruitment was finalized, she believed she can work with Lee to tap into the offensive player Lee yearns to be.
“We knew we needed to address a couple of weaknesses that we had,” said Doughty. “One thing we thought we needed was more production from the five positions. She is capable of being one of the best post players if not the best post player in this conference. She’s not there yet.”
“That’s what we’re pushing her to be. I think she could be a third option for scoring, behind Zaria [Shazier] and Kiara [Fisher], and we’re going to need that from her. There’s not many teams in our conference that have someone who can guard her.”
“Coach E”, as her players call her, has known Lee for a long time due to her father coaching at Marist for 10 years. Doughty knows what Lee has been capable of; she’s known the Georgetown transfer since she was only five years old, and expects it from her on the court this season.
“We watched her a ton in high school and AAU. We’ve always known what she was capable of. She’s a finesse post,” said Doughty. “She doesn’t love contact–which we’re working on–but she can shoot the three, she passes well, and she’s very cerebral. She’s a coach’s kid.”
Once Lee went to Georgetown, she realized how much of a homebody she was, which is why Marist fell into the equation. Knowing the school’s like she does, it was a perfect fit for the South Kent native. Lee felt comfortable residing in the Hudson Valley to continue her college career.
“I was familiar with the MAAC conference and the different away games and how close they were so being able for my parents to come to those. Then the coaching, it’s a family environment here all the coaches you can text them whenever you need anything and they’re all super supportive of you.”
There’s benefits for Lee beyond playing in front of her family in the McCann Arena. She gets the chance to practice with her brother, senior Marist student Conor Lee, two days a week. Conor knew the women’s team coaching staff ever since he was little because his dad coaches here. Once he arrived at Marist he was asked to practice against the team and has been doing so for two seasons.His main job is to play defense and get the team used to tough play. Morgan practicing with her brother once again makes the transition back to Marist full-circle; the siblings have been practicing against each other their whole lives.
“It’s definitely cool having the intensity and actually having a motion offense, because we’re always playing one-on-one stuff, and being able to like make reads off of him,” said Lee. “Especially in the post-playing against somebody who’s six-five and built like me.”
Conor mentioned that in the beginning, Morgan was not a big fan of basketball, but gradually fell in love with the game.
“Most girls her size can’t shoot like she can,” said Conor. “My dad made it a point that she should be able to and I think that also helped her progress.”
Lee is relieved to be back in the Hudson Valley and hopes that being closer to familiarity can help improve her game and place in a team with a winning culture.
Edited by Jimmy Tsiantoulas and Dan Aulbach
Graphic Credit: Cara Lacey
Photo From Marist Athletics