By LARRY VAUGHT
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 PhiladelphiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 Ã¢â‚¬â€ 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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Once again, Cal will have the hardest guard in America to check,Ã¢â‚¬Â 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 heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not surprised that Calipari had the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s No. 1 recruiting class last year, has another highly-rated class this year and already has the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s two top-ranked juniors committed for next year.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“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,Ã¢â‚¬Â Biancardi said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“That is refreshing, especially with parents.Ã¢â‚¬Â
TeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 CalipariÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Coach Cal is great with point guards,Ã¢â‚¬Â Teague said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He puts them on the next level and everyone wants to make it to the next level. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what he does. He lets you play ball and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let you hold you back.Ã¢â‚¬Â
TeagueÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cousin is UK redshirt freshman safety Dakotah Tyler of Indianapolis.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“My dad and his mom are brother and sister. He is my cousin. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a really good basketball player, one of the top in the country. He is a really good guy. We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t talk much now,Ã¢â‚¬Â Tyler said Wednesday. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I know Kentucky a school he is looking at, but I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Daniels thinks Kentucky fans certainly will like Teague.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“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,Ã¢â‚¬Â Daniels said.