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By LARRY VAUGHT

It’s no surprise that John Calipari has landed another highly-regarded guard. However, it is rather stunning that Indianapolis point guard Marquis Teague is that player.

His father and uncle both played for current Louisville coach Rick Pitino at Boston University. The Cardinals had been recruiting him for over a year and were believed to be the clear leader and were going to use Teague as the center piece for a blockbuster 2011 recruiting class.

Instead, Calipari has added Teague, a consensus top five player in his recruiting class and the top-ranked point guard, to Philadelphia’s Michael Gilchrist, the No. 1 junior. Teague announced his decision Thursday even though he cannot sign with the Cats until November.

Teague had insisted he was also still considering Cincinnati, Indiana and Purdue — the first school to offer him. However, it was known this was a Kentucky-Louisville showdown and the first real head-to-head recruiting battle between Calipari and Pitino.

Since the Cats are also positioned nicely with several other juniors ranked among the top 10 players in their class, Calipari could have an even better recruiting class next year than he had last season or will have this year as hard as that is to believe.

Scout.com national recruiting analyst said almost anyone would pick Gilchrist and Teague to start their recruiting class with if they had that choice.

“Once again, Cal will have the hardest guard in America to check,” Telep told Scout. com as Teague will follow Derek Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and current signee Brandon Knight.

Teague, a five-star prospect, averaged 16.3 points and nearly five assists during his junior season at Pike when his team won only 15 games. However, Teague made his name in AAU play with his dazzling array of skills.

Paul Biancardi, a former college coach who is now ESPN national director of high school and college basketball recruiting, says he’s not surprised that Calipari had the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class last year, has another highly-rated class this year and already has the nation’s two top-ranked juniors committed for next year.

“I am impressed but not surprised because coach Cal has a tremendous work ethic and is also so engaging with these kids and their parents. He tells guy what they need to hear and not what they want to hear,” Biancardi said. “That is refreshing, especially with parents.”

Teague’s brother, Jeff, played at Wake Forest and now plays for the Atlanta Hawks. He was not recruited by Pitino, one reason some sources have indicated that Marquis Teague and his family may have had a change of heart about Louisville.

Pitino visited Teague Tuesday while Calipari made a visit Wednesday that apparently sealed the deal for Kentucky.

Teague cited Calipari’s history with point guards and the talent he recruits as reasons he liked the Cats in an interview with Scout.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels Wednesday.

“Coach Cal is great with point guards,” Teague said. “He puts them on the next level and everyone wants to make it to the next level. That’s what he does. He lets you play ball and doesn’t let you hold you back.”

Teague’s cousin is UK redshirt freshman safety Dakotah Tyler of Indianapolis.

“My dad and his mom are brother and sister. He is my cousin. He’s a really good basketball player, one of the top in the country. He is a really good guy. We don’t talk much now,” Tyler said Wednesday. “I know Kentucky a school he is looking at, but I don’t know what he will do. I have no insider tips for you. He is a real nice guy, down to earth and is a hard worker. That is why he is so good. He will make decision with his dad that is best for him, but I sure would love to see him here. I know he would like it.”

Daniels thinks Kentucky fans certainly will like Teague.

“He could be the most talented player period in the country. He has great speed and athleticism. He is so much more explosive than most point guards,” Daniels said.

25 Responses to Teague will be a Wildcat, too

  • BarryRussell says:

    This is really an amazing coup for Calipari. If Brandon Knight and the rest of the 2010 recruits actually stay for more than one year; oh my, what a team! Patrick Patterson, John Wall and Demarcus Cousins said they were laying the foundation for UK basketball prominence to return. How prophetic!

    Maybe Oregon is looking better for Rick Pitino now.

  • UKFMLY says:

    WOW WOW WOW. Larry was I wrong. My wife was right. She said as a mother who love RP and she does. She would have told her son to go with the coach who is sending 5 players in one year to the NBA not the one who has only sent 4 in 9 years. Logic won out.

    I lost a bet with my wife so now I’m getting ready to cook dinner, set her a bubble bath, and pick up my son from school activities for the next week.

    It’s ok to lose a bet when UK wins a top recruit. That old adage mother know best was right today.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE AND ENJOY THIS ONE.

  • Jim Boyers says:

    I’m with you, UKFMLY. I called it the other way too. What a devastating loss for Slick Rick. To have this kid practically in the bag and have him snatched away. I just didn’t see how it was possible. But it just shows that anything can happen when you are dealing with 17 and 18 year old kids.

    Cal may go from having open scholarships this coming season, to NEEDING some of his players to go pro after next season, just so he can fit Teague/Gilchrist’s class in. He may be the best recruiter EVER.

    I am happy that I was wrong as well.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!!

  • BarryRussell says:

    UKFMLY and Jim – I didn’t lose amy bets but I will no longer bet against Coach Cal and is recruiting. Enjoy the moment and GO CATS!!!

  • Mike says:

    Coach Cal is a little better at recruiting than Billy Gillispie was…lol. Imagine the players UK would have if Bily was still here??? scary!

  • TRUBLU69 says:

    Somebody call 911…I can’t get this grin off my face!!!!

  • TRUBLU69 says:

    Darn…I had him going to UofL…Oh Well…LOL!!!

  • UKFMLY says:

    My apologies to the Teague family for using the phrase “bought & paid for” in relation to your sons recruitment by UL. It was wrong and I was wrong to say it. Again I apologize.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE AND MAN UP WHEN REQUIRED!!

  • larryvaught says:

    UKFMLY, nice apology. We all get carried away. But let his know how cooking and running the bubble bath goes. We are all glad you lost this best

  • AZ says:

    Larry, not to sound greedy and move on already but Terrence Jones said he is announcing on 4/30. Any chance you’ll share your thoughts on where he is headed? He’ll be a HUGE get for us too.

    CJ Leslie wants to visit UCONN before deciding..

  • UKFMLY says:

    Thanks Larry, wrong is wrong and it’s what I teach my boys. And as a guy who has been with the same gal for some time knows cooking and a bubble bath ain’t exactly a loss for me(wink wink smile).

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. GO BLUE AND COOK A MEAL FOR YOUR “STAR PLAYER”

  • Nick says:

    Larry, as a UK fan in Louisville all I can do right now is smile!! I have to listen to the noise all day, every day…I honestly thought Teague was UofL bound until I started thinking about it logically. Who was the last great point guard Pitino had? Travis Ford, Epps, and Turner were great college guards, but he just doesn’t have the rep for sending guards to the NBA. Meanwhile, Cal has had the best three freshman guards the last three years…as a top guard, where else would I go?

    By the way, I make it a point to check out your blog daily…much better than reading the courier journal!

  • larryvaught says:

    I think Jones is just waiting to see what happens at Oregon, but still think he will be a Cat unless Leslie commits first. Don’t think UK gets them both.
    And Nick, glad to have you with us. Keep reading and posting and thanks for the kind words.
    And darn right a bubble bath and cooking are not all bad

  • lunchbox says:

    calipari is king my how times have change

  • lunchbox says:

    cal just spit in slick rick’s eye i love it!!!

  • Martin says:

    Larry,

    Coach Cal has a reputation for being honest with kids, does it bother you at all that he’s recruiting a lot of one and done talent and even kids like Stacey Poole who openly made comments that he thinks playing for Cal can put him in a position to be one and done? I don’t believe that’s his strategy because I think it would be a poor one, unless he just tells them that if they work REALLY hard they have the stage and the support to achieve their dreams. But a mass freshman exodus from UK is hardly a good thing every year. Thoughts?

    Thanks.

  • King Ghidora says:

    This is another amazing recruiting feat by the Raja Of Recruiters, John Calipari. I have thought for a while that RP would lose recruiting power because of his off the court antics. Not many mothers want a role model of that sort for their sons. But with all the links to Pitino in Teague’s family and the already loaded setup for guards at UK I thought Teague was a lock for UL. Wow am I glad to be wrong about that!

    As for “one and done” players coming to UK that’s how the game is played these days and we might as well get used to it. In truth it’s a better deal than what we had because most of those one and done players would have went straight to the pros in 2008-09. At least we get to see them play for a year.

    I see no reason Cal can’t handle this situaion well. He’s already done so. Why don’t we wait a few years to start complaining? UK is building a powerhouse franchise again and I can’t believe so many are complaining. Point to another team that has done better since the new NBA rules went into effect. Yes Duke won the NC but as we all know winning it all is a tough thing to do even if you do have the most talent. UK had one very good experienced player last year and two good experienced players. Yes the freshmen dominated but that only proves that real talent wins games. Stevenson would have started for a large number of college teams as would Harris. Patterson would start anywhere. So it’s not like UK had no experience. And that won’t be the case this coming year either. Miller is a talented player just waiting to catch fire. Liggins brought a lot to the team last year. And players like Hood and Harrellson will play a role too. I just think it’s way too early to even guess that Cal’s system won’t work. The Cats won 35 games last year and only lost 3. Compare that to the OTS years where double digit losses were the norm. The Cats had TWO first team All Americans that were freshmen. I don’t know what people expect but if they think it gets better than this they’re mistaken. Give Cal a chance and he’ll bring home his share of NC’s. I’d bet on that.

  • Jan in Indiana says:

    I also stand corrected,thought maybe the family connection would do it for UofL, being a parent I should have remembered you only want what is best for your kids. (do you think there will be an opening for RP’s personal assistant now?)

  • Judi Cole says:

    Just found out about this recruiting coup and must say, I was in Larry’s camp – thought Teague would be a Card, but thrilled that I’m wrong! It’s just downright excitning in Widcat country these days!

  • Martin says:

    hahah look I’m not mad about getting the top recruiting classes 3 years in a row. I’m just saying, I don’t want UK to be a carousel of talent. That totally ruins the game.

  • UKFMLY says:

    Just read that Teagues mom liked UK. Reminds me of a refrigerator magnet that my mom had all my life. It show a picture of a big guy in overalls with a small woman behind him with a cast iron skillet in her hand and it said “PAW IS BOSS AS EVERYONE KNOWS BUT WHAT MA SAYS ALWAYS GOES” LOL.

    KEEP UP THE GOOD WORD. GO BLUE OR STAY HOME

  • larry vaught says:

    I think Cal tells them he will be the first to tell them when they are ready for the NBA and if they listen and work, it could happen early. I don’t think he promises or guarantees one year and a player is gone, but I do think he stresses potential and how he can help players develop — and his record backs that up.
    I think the top point guard in the country every year for a while will commit to UK. Why wouldn’t he now?

  • Martin says:

    I think Cal is honest with them as well. He has a reputation for being a straight shooter in the recruiting process, and parents and kids like that. Cal’s saavy and track record combined with UK’s visibility is a powerful 1-2 with regard to recruiting. I just can’t be 100% behind the system we seem to have right now. OK, it’s not Cal’s fault, but it’s a little depressing. We are looking at Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, and CJ Leslie/Terrence Jones, who could all play 1 year, and then Stacey Poole who is on the record that he believes he can be one and done, citing Eric Bledsoe as an example.

  • Greg says:

    Hey Larry, not sure you’ll get this. But it’s “awfully quiet” on the Bledsoe/Orton front! Isn’t the deadline for NBA paperwork Sunday?…..Your thoughts?

  • larry vaught says:

    Both have submitted paperwork as far as I know and have been told. Then they have another week or so to take their name back out

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