Feb 24, 2011 8:16 PM by Brent Carney
Marquis Teague has the sort of lightning quick first step and speed in the open floor reserved for a one-in-a-million talent. That is unless you're discussing point guards for John Calipari, in which case it seems to be a prerequisite for the job.
The senior All-American at Indianapolis's Pike High School has the explosive athleticism reminiscent of John Wall, Derrick Rose and Brandon Knight.
"I don't know I was just born with it," Teague said of his blistering baseline-to-baseline speed. "My brothers are pretty quick, too and my father was quick, so I was just blessed to be quick and have a great first step, I guess."
Teague's father Shawn played for Rick Pitino at Boston University and his brother Jeff was a star at Wake Forrest and a first-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks.
Watching Jeff's ascent to the top of the college game and his journey through the NBA has helped shape the youngest Teague's game.
"It helped my game mature a lot, watching my brother on all these different levels. He comes back and gives me that knowledge. He tells me what it takes to be successful in college and how to make it to the next level, it's a big help," Teague said.
Among the lessons passed on was the need for Marquis to hone his perimeter game. Even though he can get to the basket at will in high school, he knows that is likely to soon change.
"In college there's a lot of big men in the paint that's gonna be there to clean that up but you got to be able to knock down that shot or a pull-up jumper," he said.
Teague spent all summer working twice a day with a trainer, shooting jumper after jumper with the help of The Gun - a machine that rebounds the ball and rapidly spits it back to the shooter.
Teague would take so many jump shots that his arm would be sore afterwards. By his estimation he took several thousand jumpers each day.
This season Teague is connecting on 37 percent of his three point attempts. That's a drastic improvement from last year and has helped make him an even harder player for defenders to stop.
"Giving me that outside shot will make [my quickness] even more effective because they can't play off of me they have to play up on me and it will make it that much easier to get around," he said.