Marqise Lee wasn’t as heralded as other members of the USC 2011 recruiting class. Most thought he’d be better off as a safety. Later that fall, he emerged as a starting wide receiver.
Lee was named the 2011 Pac-12 Freshman Co-Offensive Player of the Year and by the end of the season, he was viewed as one of the country’s most dangerous threats with the ball in his hands. For an encore, he became the first Biletnikoff Award (given to nation’s top receiver) winner in school history as a sophomore in 2012.
Here are 10 things you may not know about the Trojans All-American:
Lee didn’t grow up having any nicknames but there was one name that stuck and followed him through his high school years: Marty.
“My basketball coach from middle school — I don’t know why she couldn’t get Marqise — so she started calling me Marty and it carried from that point on all the way to travel ball and everything,” Lee said.
Late night snack
If it’s late and Lee is looking for a snack, he gives himself options. If it’s following a workout, he’ll keep it simple with a submarine sandwich. If he’s just hungry and it’s not following a workout, he opts for a double cheeseburger with animal fries.
“No onions,” he said. “I don’t do the onions.”
When he’s not scoring touchdowns or getting a workout in, Lee is likely at home playing video games. He and a bunch of his teammates are highly competitive with one another in NBA2K. However, everyone won’t be fighting over who gets to play with the Miami Heat.
There are rules to selecting a team.
“We do randoms,” Lee said. “You got three randoms and out of the three teams you pick randomly you get to choose which one you want to play with. If not you’ll take a fourth and the fourth one you got to stick with.”
His success on the sticks comes a little bit tougher than what he enjoys on the gridiron.
“I got my days,” Lee said. “D-Flo (D’Von Flournoy) is actually good. Demetrius (Wright)? I beat him one good time so he’s upset. He actually wants to play me again. Xavier (Grimble) and Silas (Redd)? We kind of flip off (wins and losses). Xavier’s been in a slump for the last couple of weeks. I’m taking advantage of that. Sometimes I’m winning. Most times I’m losing.”
Basketball was his favorite sport growing up and, of course, he excelled in football and track as well but his favorite team was the Bronx Bombers.
“I liked the Yankees,” Lee said. “(I liked) everybody they had on they squad at that time.”
Who would play you in a movie?
Lee, according to his friends, has a celebrity look-a-like in former NBA small forward Michael Finley. Although Finley doesn’t have any known acting experience, that’s who Lee would choose to play him in a movie.
“People say I look like Michael Finley,” Lee said. “I’m guessing, well hey (why not?).”
Not many people can say they have a movie made about their hometown. Lee does. Ideally the Inglewood native says the 1999 film “The Wood” is his favorite film.
The first sport he played was soccer and No. 9 was the first uniform number he ever had, so he’s stuck with it.
Favorite sports memory
Lee was a part of one of the greatest games in CIF Southern Section history in 2009 when Serra took on Oaks Christian in the Northwest Division final.
The Lions had been a thorn in the side of Lee’s Cavs. The previous year, Serra lost to Oaks 63-28 in the CIF final. This time around, Serra was looking to exact a little revenge.
Serra did just that winning 42-41 in overtime, knocking off mighty Oaks and Gatorade National Player of the Year Malcolm Jones. It marked the first time the Lions had been defeated in a CIF title game — they had won their previous six.
For Lee, there are two moments that stick out to him from that win.
“I got one picture (in my mind) of our kicker Francisco (Olloqui) holding his hands up after he makes the (game-winning extra point),” Lee reflects. “They actually had that in the Daily Breeze. Then there was another picture (in my mind) where it was Woody (Robert Woods), George (Farmer), me and somebody else in the picture. Woody was smiling. I was smiling. George was like smiling but he was crying at the same time because he was so happy. I remember that. I’ll never forget that.”
What’s in your iPod?
When it comes to music, Lee is a fan of a lot of things but he has to have an assortment.
“I’m not a big fan of full mixtapes because I know I’m not going to like everything on it,” he said. “So it’s like a lot of random. From Future to — I’m really a big fan of Future — Kendrick Lamar and all of them.”
Lee grew up thinking college was never an option. He’s overcome odds just to put on a USC uniform and wants to continue to enjoy the fruits of his labor. After all he’s overcome, failing is the one thing he fears the most.
“The sense of just coming this way and just losing it on anything, basically,” he said.