Marquis Teague headed to the NBA after one season, championship at UK

A few weeks after winning Kentucky’s first National Title in more than a decade, the five starters — Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrance Jones, Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague  — have all decided to take their game to the next level and enter their names in the NBA draft.

Teague, the former Pike High School standout and Indiana All-Star, believes in his decision to leave Kentucky before his freshman year is even over.

“This is my lifelong dream to play in the NBA, and to be doing it with these guys, we’re all just making the decision together just makes it that much more special,” Teague said in news conference with his teammates Tuesday.

“I love every day knowing I played with these guys, and that not being an option anymore is tough to deal with. But we all decided we needed to move on, so this is something we’ve got to do.”

He averaged ten points, two rebounds and five assists in 40 games with the Wildcats. The 19 year-old had a shaky start to his freshman campaign but was probably the most improved player on the team, from start to finish. Coach Calipari agrees.

“We won those last two games in a large part because of how Marquis Teague played. Assist-to-turnover ratios, and let me tell you something, in the pick-and-roll defense and offensively, the courage to make shots and not be afraid, the athleticism and speed. I say he’s got Tony Parker speed. So, he also has improved from the beginning to the end. All these guys have.”

After winning the national title, Marquis Teague sat down with family and came to a decision.

“We all talked about it a few days after the game. (We) talked about what we wanted to do, we knew around two or three days after the game.”

His older brother, Jeff, played at Wake Forest and is currently in the pros with the Atlanta Hawks. It certainly helped to have somebody so close to bounce ideas off and hear what the next level is really like.

“I talked to him a lot. He just told me whatever I felt comfortable with, make the decision that’s best for me. He felt like I played good enough, I won a championship as the point guard for the top team in the country and did a great job this year. So if you feel like you’re ready, then go ahead.”

ESPN’s Chad Ford projects Teague going to, of all teams, the Pacers at No. 25. Ford writes, “Not only do the Pacers need more help at the point, but Teague is an Indy native who would be a great get here. He’s not the pure point guard the Pacers really need, but he can push the ball effectively, get to the basket and create problems as a defender.”

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a fan of the way he plays and carries himself. His Pike team’s were never very good and struggled to even with one sectional. He was the most selfish player I had ever seen play. He isn’t a guy that I see making his teammates better.

I was impressed with the improvement throughout his freshman season and he was a big part of their championship team. Many teams need a point guard but he’s not an immediate impact player. I think he would have benefited from another year or two but I can’t fault a guy from leaving after winning the ultimate prize and when his stock his high.

Getting chosen in the first round is important, because it’s guaranteed money. A decision like this is never easy and it’s important to receive honest evaluations.

“I’ve heard things about where I’ll be picked and things like that. So I have that information and I was comfortable with that, so that’s why I’m going…I talked to Coach Cal and my parents about it and Coach Cal felt like I’d done enough this year where I could be selected in the first round of the NBA and I felt like I can too.”

Another Indianapolis area kid headed to an NBA city near you.

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