In recent years, John Calipari has proved he knows how to evaluate and mold talented point guards. In Marquis Teague (Pike/Indianapolis) he got another great one.
What makes Teague a special talent is his ability to get to the rim and finish. He's terrific in transition, and when he is in a one-on-one matchup, it's impossible for someone at the high school level to defend him alone. Teague, the younger brother of former Wake Forest standout and current Hawks guard Jeff Teague, probes the defense with the dribble and attacks the lane. He continuously draws the help defender and has the defense scrambling. Most importantly, he has that killer instinct on the offensive end of the floor. If he draws a crowd, he will find the open man. When he gets to the rim he doesn't hesitate to dunk These skills are tailor-made for Kentucky's dribble-drive offensive system.
In the Inaugural Nike EYBL Teague was sensational against the nation's top talent. He has stepped his game up to another level. The 6-foot-2-inch Teague has a solid frame and is strong with the ball in his hands; seldom does he get knocked off the ball by other guards. He has a quick first step, and once Teague is even with the defender, he's gone. In the paint, he has great body control and can finish or dish.
Like so many of the recruits Kentucky targets, Teague is an excellent player in transition; he can go from baseline to baseline as well as anybody in 2011 class. He can rebound the ball defensively and bust-out dribble, starting the break. That makes him such a threat offensively. He also has the ability to change speeds with the ball -- a favorite move that he has crafted is the hesitation stutter-step -- which is another crucial weapon for him to beat defenders. He demonstrates the talent to make tough midrange jumpers and his 3-point shot is rapidly improving.
Kentucky doesn't look at one-way players, however. The Wildcats defend 94 feet. When challenged and committed to defend, Teague can be a stopper on and off the ball. He has quick hands, excellent foot speed and loves to play up on the basketball and pressure it. Off the ball, he has good anticipation and knows when to go for steals. He creates turnovers and turns them into points in a hurry.
An area of growth would be to develop his weak hand (left hand), as both a ballhandler and a finisher. At such a young age, that's normal. He loves to get to the hoop and he's exceptional at it, but Teague needs to get comfortable and confident taking that jumper when it's open. When he does that, and defenders have to respect his shot, his game will go to a new level.
Teague plays for the well-respected Gary Betts on the Indiana Spiece Elite. Betts, a longtime AAU and high school coach, has helped develop talented prospects such as Jason Gardner, Jeff Teague and Zach Randolph. He says that Marquis has a tremendous work ethic. When he's in the gym, he's always getting something accomplished. Like all great competitors, Teague is constantly focused on refining his weaknesses.
Calipari continues to recruit and land the most impactful position on the court: point guard. Teague, the nation's No. 4 recruit, will join Michael Gilchrist, ESPN Recruiting's top-rated junior, in Kentucky's 2011 class.When I evaluate these future Wildcats I see many common traits: They both have great work ethic, passion for the game and are fierce competitors. Both prospects have really high ceilings to reach. Their skills and demeanor are perfect for Cal.
Under Calipari's tutelage Teague will learn to excel playing the game and thinking the game at the same time at the most vital position. This is an incredible pickup for UK, which is still recruiting for 2010. Teague and Gilchrist will attract other top-level players that want to work hard and win at Kentucky.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.