CHICAGO – One thing is for certain, Marquis Teague didn’t lack for an advisory group when it came to deciding whether to jump from Pike High School to the NBA – with a sojourn to Lexington, Kentucky in between.
Following a highly successful freshman season at Kentucky, Teague turned to his father, Shawn Teague, who had tryouts with the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers, his coach, John Calipari, who sends entire starting lineups into the league, and his brother, Jeff, who is third year guard with the Atlanta Hawks, for counsel.
“They all felt that I had done enough throughout the tournament, led my team to a national championship, that I could come out,” Teague explained. “Coach Cal thought that I was talented enough to play at this level.”
Calipari’s belief in your professional future is equivalent to Beethoven saying that you’ve practiced “Chopsticks” long enough.
The 6-foot-2 Teague is still in his infancy stages of development as a point guard, but so was his brother at this point of his career. Jeff Teague has worked his way into a double-digit scorer for the Hawks, who also dishes out nearly five assists per game.
In the case of Marquis, it’s true that he looks to score more often than perhaps he should, which can lead to forced shots at times. But there is no questioning his athletic bursts of speed and ability to get into the lane and breakdown a defense.
“I showed that I can play the point,” Teague said. “I played with some great guys and I kept everybody happy. We won a lot of games. I know how to play with good guys and I know how to get them the ball where they can score.”
Teague dished out the second-most assists in Kentucky history by a freshman and his 4.8 per game assist average was second in the Southeastern Conference. Another strength of Teague’s will be his ability to step into a locker room full of talent and to grasp his role.
“We had great chemistry (at Kentucky),” Teague said. “From day one our focus was to win a national championship. That’s all that we cared about. It wasn’t about me or about any of us.”
Teague is mostly projected as a late first round selection for the NBA Draft, which is later this month. Coincidentally, his hometown team (Indiana Pacers) selects late in the first round (26th overall). On Thursday, he made no secret that he’d love to land with Indiana.
“I would love to play for the hometown team,” Teague said. “That would be fun. I actually thought about that and talked about it with my parents. I’d be excited about that.”