By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky signee Marquis Teague, a point guard from Indianapolis, says being together at all-star games Ã¢â‚¬â€ UKÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s four signees recently all played in the McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s All-American Game and will play again together at the Jordan Brand Classic Ã¢â‚¬â€ will have an impact on next season.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It gives us not only playing experience with each other, but also a chance to form a chemistry and figure out how our games go together,Ã¢â‚¬Â Teague said Thursday as he prepared for SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nike Hoop Summit in Portland.. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Next season for us really starts now. We practice together twice a day, eat together, do stuff together. We are all here working hard, but we also know this is important for next season as well.
Teague watched numerous UK games this season. He paid particular attention to the way freshman point guard Brandon Knight improved under Calipari just as current NBA point guards John Wall, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans did.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I was hoping they would win it all, but I really enjoyed watching how Knight matured. He made better decisions, knocked down shots and just improved a lot from the start of the year until the end,Ã¢â‚¬Â Teague said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is what coach Cal can do for me, too. He can get me ready to compete at a high level. He will actually get us all ready. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why we wanted to play for him.
Teague thinks his future UK teammates all have high skills, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Anthony (Davis) played well at McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s high energy and is great on defense and finishing at the rim. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s getting so much better and has a lot of potential,Ã¢â‚¬Â Teague said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mike (Gilchrist) is getting even better if that is possible. He has improved his jump shot and is tougher to guard. He could always get to the glass and score, but now he can knock down jump shots.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kyle (Wiltjer) won the 3-point contest at McDonaldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s. He can really knock down shots. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t see him miss many shots even in practice. That is great for me because it will open the floor for me to get to the hoop when you have a player with his size that can knock down open 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s like that.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Davis has been just as impressed.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They all play so well. Mike is such a great finisher around the basket. Teague is very, very fast and a great passer. Kyle can really shoot, but he can play in the post, too,Ã¢â‚¬Â Davis said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t wait to get to Kentucky and spend time with and play with these guys because I know how special we can be.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Teague admits heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a bit anxious to get to UK, too.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am ready to get there. I wish it was coming up tomorrow and we could play right away,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.