For the past three seasons, junior guard Morgan Lee’s name has been blasted through the BSU Gymnasium public address system after knocking down 3-pointer after 3-pointer, but echoing in the rafters is the name of her father, David Lee.
A four-time all-conference performer from 1984-88, David has remained the men’s basketball program’s all-time leading scorer since leaving Bemidji State with 2,034 points.
“He was the quintessential basketball player,” said Karl Salscheider, BSU head coach from 1981-85 and 1987-95. “He was an excellent performer, a good student and highly-respected. He could penetrate, dish and was a good decision maker, shooter and defender.
“David Lee is without question one of the top five players ever to play at Bemidji State and will ever play here. There is a good argument he might be a top two or three player, or perhaps maybe the best player to ever be here. His 2,034 points will never be surpassed.”
David’s accomplishments don’t end with all-conference awards and scoring titles. He left BSU as the program’s assists leader and held that title until Bryce Tesdahl broke his mark two seasons ago. He has made more shots (807) and free throws (773) than any other player to don the green and white and finished his career as a 50 percent shooter from the field. Among his accolades is the Northern Intercollegiate Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player, an award he received as a sophomore when the Beavers finished third.
“He came right in and proved he was every bit as talented as the established juniors and seniors,” Salscheider said. “Then he started to get 11-12-13 points per game as a freshman and was an integral part of the program’s first postseason tournament victory. He then went on his sophomore year to be the MVP of the conference tournament. Generally, nobody in third place gets MVP, but he did as a sophomore.”
The list of his triumphs is endless and his name is splattered across the Beaver record book. For his efforts, David was inducted into the Bemidji State Athletic Hall of Fame Feb. 1-2.
“Fortunately I was able to get into the starting line-up right away and then, I guess my career took off from there,” David said, as he modestly reflected on his career. “I came from a really disciplined program and we had a lot of Division I players on my high school team, so I was more of a role player. When I came here I was more of a scorer and key player offensively and I think Coach Salscheider enabled me to allow my abilities to shine and let me play a little bit.
“I am extremely honored to be able to get into a Hall of Fame at a University like BSU. I’m very thankful for the teammates that helped me along the way and enabled me to have the success that I did.”
“I’m really proud of him,” Morgan said. “That is something he put a lot of time into and he obviously did a lot to work on his game and his hard work has paid off.”
After graduation David went on to become a teacher and coach at Hayward High School in Hayward, Wis. He married fellow a BSU graduate, Ronda [Gustafson], and had three daughters that would grow up with the game of basketball.
After spending hours and hours in the gym with her father, Morgan played for him at Hayward High School and earned all-state recognition and surpassed the 1,000-point plateau in her high school career. When it came time to make a decision of where to continue her basketball career, it was safe to say Bemidji State was near the top of the list.
“I always knew the choice was going to be mine, but when I ended up visiting it was really cool for him and I realized it would be neat for him to come back and watch me play at his gym,” Morgan said.
Now Morgan is stamping her place in the women’s basketball history book. The junior earned All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Second Team honors as a sophomore, already ranks sixth in the school’s all-time 3-pointers made category and is less than 200 points shy of 1,000 career points. Her abilities and success can be traced back to the influence of her father, but he isn’t taking all the credit.
“Being a coach’s daughter she spent a lot of time in the gym, as well as my other two daughters,” David said. “They have lived in the gym since they were first born. I never pushed them necessarily to be basketball players, it was my life and they were apart of that.
“I think it takes a lot of self-driven motivation to get to the level Morgan is at now, so she has been a big part of that herself. She has had a good career at this point and is looking to keep improving.”
Speaking of his other daughters, Tatum was on the Beavers roster last season, playing along side her sister once again and the youngest of the Lee clan, Ricki, is currently leading Hayward High School in scoring as a senior.
“It was really fun (playing with Tatum), I had obviously missed playing with her after high school,” Morgan said. “We had always had that bond of playing sports together and to play with her again was really cool.”
Bemidji State has been a major part of the Lee household and the Lee family has achieved a lot at BSU. Hall of Fame Weekend was a special one for a family that can be proud of what they have and what they will accomplish, on the court and off.
For more information on the Bemidji State men’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BSUHoops or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/Bemidji-State-Basketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
For more information on the Bemidji State women’s basketball program, follow the Beavers on Twitter (@BemidjiStateWBB or @BSUBeavers), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/BemidjiStateWomen’sBasketball or facebook.com/BSUBeavers) or sign up for the TXTUpdates from BSUBeavers.com text-messaging system through the "Mulitmedia" pull down menu on the main page of BSUBeavers.com.
Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).