Sitting at the Kentucky-Miami (OH) football game, with the clock nearing halftime, I received a text message from Marquis Teague saying that he was visiting Louisville on Saturday. I immediately thought two things: (1) Twitterberry is horrible and never seems to work, especially when you need it; and (2) This might be all she wrote for the UK-Teague love affair.
After getting home from the game and thinking about the situation for awhile, my feelings have changed a bit. First, you have Coach Pitino taking six star recruits to a football game that he had to be sure was going to be a complete drumming. After all, it was an Indiana State team that had just lost an overtime affair against NAIA affiliated Quincy University. Instead, what they saw was a game that remained close until the 3rd quarter and still only ended with UL winning by a margin that should have been much larger. From what I’ve heard from my UL friends, the atmosphere at Papa John’s stadium was anything but fun. Not what you would envision when you’re showing your top targets what atmosphere your fans provide.
Secondly, with Marquis Teague not giving his verbal commitment to Louisville yet, you have to think it looks good for the other schools. I want to also say that I don’t agree with the opinion that Pitino might have Teague wait or might keep his verbal secret so as to not make the hiring of Shabaka Lands look fishy. Let’s face it, it already looks fishy, it isn’t going to get him in trouble and if he ever needed a positive moment for the University, it’s RIGHT NOW. To more completely explain, I have to say again that the Teague’s have made it clear that they do not want to commit while on a visit. Therefore, the other schools aren’t in the clear yet, but if a verbal doesn’t end up coming the rest of the weekend, in my mind, it has to only look bad for the Cards and better for the rest of his suitors. If Teague was ever going to commit to the Cards, he has had plenty of opportunities to do so and this weekend is probably the best and maybe the last.
Lastly, Teague told the Indy Star that he plans future visits to Cincinnati, Ohio State and Indiana. Purdue should get another visit as well. Kentucky also received some praise and Teague said he would like to return to Lexington for another look. If all that is true, the Cards chances look dimmer and dimmer with each visit that occurs. If a return trip to Lexington is made, then Kentucky’s chances look pretty darn good.
Now, of course, this is all opinion. With the Lands hiring, I felt that if Rick Pitino was going to hire Lands at this late point in the game, it could only mean that he felt he needed something extra to pull in Teague. Why else would he make the hire, especially at this late point? Why wouldn’t he have done it back in the spring when Teague’s original decision was imminent. Something must have changed between then and now. That change, in my mind, must have been that there was a new leader and Louisville was going to need help.This weekend is obviously Rick’s opportunity to say “Look Marquis, we did this for you, we want you, we need you to commit.” The opportunity, and possibly last chance, for Louisville is now.
Teague plans on deciding before his high school season starts. He may commit anytime before that though. If the other schools make it through this weekend, and maybe a little into next week, without a commitment to Louisville from Teague, their chances look tremendously better. If Kentucky makes it to the point of getting a return visit, their chances look astronomically better. So for UK fans, and all other Teague suitors, the thing to do for now is to sit, wait and hope that a commitment doesn’t come in the next few days. After that, things are looking good.
UPDATE: Since writing the above piece, I’ve talked to Mr. Teague about his visit. Instead of going back and rewording this entire piece, I thought I could more fully and accurately make my point by just adding an update.
Let’s get one thing out of the way…Teague’s visit went well. He walked with the 5 other recruits around campus, showing Wayne Blackshear and Mike Shaw the dorms because they had yet to see those, and they also went to the football game. On the atmosphere, which I thought might not have been so good, Teague actually said it was a great atmosphere. To paraphrase him, he said that any sport that has to do with UL, all the fans are always loud and provide a great atmosphere. He didn’t seem to notice or was not concerned about the close game with Indiana State and didn’t notice any difference in the crowd because of the lackluster effort by the Cards.
On a side note, he did downplay whatever effect Coach Lands’ hiring might have had on his decision. He says that it really has nothing to do with him and what matters is how he fits into the program and system. If that fit isn’t there, Coach Lands’ hiring isn’t going to make him commit. That’s about all the information that I can put out there but I think it is important for UK fans to know that Teague’s visit seemed to go really well and he seems like he might be liking UL quite a bit these days.