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DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Those bruising backyard battles with his older brother toughened Marquis Teague, even if he was five years younger and not as physically mature.
Marquis could be going at brother Jeff again soon enough — this time in the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls made Marquis Teague a first-round draft pick last week, setting up some likely showdowns next season with Jeff Teague, the point guard for the Atlanta Hawks.
“Words can’t explain it,” their proud dad, Shawn, said Monday when 19-year-old Marquis met the media at the Berto Center for the first time. “I’m talking about Jeff and Marquis.”
And yes, the brothers did clash at times.
“Definitely battles along those lines, no question about it. Neither wanted to lose, and with Marquis being that much younger a lot of times he kind of resorted to some tricks to compete,” Shawn Teague said with a smile. “There were fouls in most games. They were very competitive.”
What the Bulls liked most about Marquis is how he performed as a freshman on college basketball’s biggest stage, helping Kentucky win the NCAA title in his only year with the Wildcats. He was the 29th pick overall.
“He experienced winning, he experienced playing in big games, playing in the Final Four in front of 60,000 and millions of people watching,” general manager Gar Forman said. “I think it will help him with his adjustment to the NBA.”
Marquis Teague, at 6-foot-2, averaged 10 points and 4.8 assists last season and had 14 points with a pair of 3-pointers in Kentucky’s championship victory over Kansas. The Bulls were impressed with the progress he made from the beginning of the season through the tournament
Brother Jeff has already given him some scouting reports.
“Me and my brother we are pretty competitive people and we had a lot of battles in the backyard growing up. He just helped me become the player I am today. I love my brother and I just thank him for everything he’s done for me,” Marquis said.
Jeff also advised Marquis to be ready because there will be competition every single day, in games and at practice.
“My brother told me a little about the Bulls. They are big on D,” Marquis said. “Playing for coach Cal (John Calipari), he played the same style, he likes to defend and run the ball, so I feel like I should fit in great with this team.”
Teague had not yet talked with Derrick Rose, the Bulls’ star who is recovering from knee surgery and will likely miss a good portion of next season. But once he does, he hopes to pick his brain and then learn from him on the floor and in practice once Rose does return.
Coach Tom Thibodeau said the Bulls won’t be rushing Teague just because of Rose’s absence. Chicago is likely to pursue another veteran point guard during the free agency period.
“It’s a big jump,” Thibodeau said. “You can’t skip steps. You got to come in and start working, learn what we’re trying to do, learn his teammates, learn the pro game. The pro game is a lot different than college.”