Lee’s First and Last Louisville Year

Damion Lee is one of two fifth-year seniors on the University of Louisville basketball team this season. He and Trey Lewis have already graduated from college and are working on master’s degrees at UofL. Lee is a 6-foot-6 scorer who averaged 21.4 points per game last season at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He was the fourth leading scorer in the nation.

How different is the experience of being a player at Louisville compared to Drexel?
It’s night and day. Not just from the basketball standpoint but just the community. Being in Philly, that’s a fast-paced city, and being in Louisville, it’s a very welcoming basketball town. And the University of Louisville is basically a pro team here.

How tough was it to come in and be a leader when you are also a new guy on the team?
It wasn’t as tough, knowing that I had some older guys with me – Trey Lewis and Mangok Mathiang. We come from three different backgrounds, but we all have one major goal, which is to help this team as much as we can to be successful. That adjustment period really wasn’t as difficult.

Damion Lee drives in for a layup at the University of Louisville vs. Hartford game. Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | Contributing Photographer

Damion Lee drives in for a layup at the University of Louisville vs. Hartford game. Photo by CHRIS HUMPHREYS | Contributing Photographer

Did the trip to Puerto Rico this summer and the fact that there weren’t really any leaders returning from last season make it any easier?
For me, it really didn’t matter where I went. I just wanted to make sure that I gave it my all, and being here at the University of Louisville, I’m only here for one year. Whatever I can do to help this program and help this community, that’s all I’m here for.

Do you ever get tired of watching the replay of your block on Kentucky Wesleyan’s Ken-Jah Bosley in the exhibition game?
I believe I had missed a shot and then no one got back. I just wanted to do whatever I could to make sure that they didn’t score on that play.

Offensively, are you comfortable with people expecting you to be the leading scorer on this team?
Scoring the basketball is definitely one of my strengths, but of course, also finding my teammates and doing other things to make sure I stay engaged in the game.

As a fifth-year senior, what are you studying at UofL?
For my undergrad, I studied public relations, communications, so I’m eventually probably going to be a broadcaster. For my master’s, I’m actually studying special education, so I want to do something that can help people in the community who have special needs.

How good do you think this team can be?
I think that we can be very successful. I’m not someone who is really too big on talking, definitely just go out there and execute and make sure that I keep everyone focused on the main goal, which is not to win these couple of games but to prepare ourselves for March.

Is getting to March and getting to actually play in the NCAA tournament something that you think about a lot?
I’ve been in college for four years, and I feel like I’ve been in college for 10. But getting that experience to finally play in March Madness is definitely a main goal.

What would it mean to you to accomplish that goal?
That would be amazing. Seeing all my close friends, seeing a couple of my best friends play at these bigger schools and play in the tournament, they all told me that if I ever have the chance to just soak up the moment.

Have you ever been concerned that the ongoing NCAA investigation could in any way hurt your chances of playing in an NCAA tournament?
No, not at all. Even if something like that does happen, it’s out of my control. VT