The Courier Journal captured this picture of Bizzaro Teague
Let me take you back in time to December 5th 2009… John Wall, the number one recruit in the country, was plucked right out of Tarheel country by John Calipari to become the headlining piece of his first of many blockbuster classes. This was the first and only game he’d play against his hometown Heels and he wasn’t going to disappoint. Wall keyed the Cats to a 28-2 first half run and led Calipari’s youngsters to a 15 point halftime lead before leaving the game for 20 minutes with cramps. It turns out the delay in his return can be attributed to John’s aversion to needles. He eventually overcame his fear, reentered a game in which UNC had staged a huge second half comeback and hit two clutch free throws with 4.3 seconds on the clock to seal the Kentucky win. Wall finished the game with 16 points, seven assists, five rebounds and seven turnovers. The John Wall explosion against his home town team was the first step in establishing himself on a national stage. Sure, he’d hit big shots and put up gaudy number in previous contests, but this game and the following one against Connecticut put the Great Wall on the map.
Fast forward to today, another John Calipari point guard finds himself on the eve of the game against his home state team. Marquis Teague got off to a rocky start this season, but is this the game that he proves himself to be the lottery pick that he was touted to be in the preseason? As I see it, Marquis is going to attempt his usual hero plays. He’s probably going to attempt a lot of them. The interesting thing to see will be what happens if he starts connecting on those outside shots and acrobatic drives. Despite the obvious talent gap, this game is believed, by most members of the national media, to be one that will come down to the wire. If Teague can deliver in crunch time, will he see a profile boost similar to the one John Wall experienced after his national coming out party?
Marquis has been treated unfairly this young season. He has the talent, but his learning curve seems to be a bit steeper than his predecessors and some fans have interpreted that as inability rather than a lack of understanding. The best thing Teague can do for himself as a point guard is play through his talented teammates. Once he understands how to do that, his playmaking will come as well. Let’s hope that this is the game he figures that out.
Nothing would annoy Indiana fans more than if Marquis Teague was the one to beat them. That alone makes me the biggest Teague fan in the world this weekend. Remember to take your fluids tonight, Marquis.
[Disclaimer: I am in no way comparing the gameplay of John Wall to that of Marquis Teague’s. I am merely noting a similarity in their situations]