There was no official welcoming back for former Topper start Courtney Lee.
But when the New Jersey Nets guard slipped onto the end of Western’s bench Thursday night at the 15:47 mark of the first half, the stands erupted.
“I think it gave the building a little energy,” senior guard A.J. Slaughter said. “Always when the crowd’s into it and you’ve got a dude like that over on the bench rooting for you, you always want to play your best and go out and play hard for him.
“It’s great to see the man again. He hasn’t been back for awhile.”
Slaughter said he thought Lee was last on campus in June of 2009 for some workouts.
Working such a busy schedule, Head Coach Ken McDonald was appreciative off Lee for making it back to Bowling Green during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.
“Those guys don’t have a lot of days off. I thought it was great that Courtney was able to come back here for a few days,” McDonald said. “The great thing about Courtney — he’s a very humble kid. You wouldn’t know he was a superstar here and an NBA player. He’s just a great kid — quality individual.”
Throughout the limited time McDonald has spent with Lee, the second-year head coach said he’s learned a lot about the second-year NBA star.
Lee also helped McDonald do a little bit of learning.
“I couldn’t say more good things about Courtney Lee in terms of his attitude, how he’s tried to help us with our guys,” McDonald said. “When I first got here, he ran down all the guys — what they were all about — who was a good worker, who needed to become a good worker, who had potential. He was unbelievable.
“We’ve kept in touch periodically. A lot of people are tugging at you once you make it to the NBA. He always returns a phone call, he’s quick to understand at times we need him as an ambassador to WKU to reach out at times to people we’re interested in reaching out to.”