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Can Calipari Coach-Out Marquis Teague's Selfish Play ?

The only anxiety I have watching this amazing array of talent, besides the small heart attacks I have every time one of our high flying stars hits the deck, is the selfish play of Marquis Teague. Calipari has worked wonders with past freshmen talent but I have to hark back to the lost cause that was Eric Bledsoe as an example of a hard-to-reach (or never-reached) talented freshmen. Calipari never seemed to reach this kid, he continued to play selfish until the final buzzer of Kentucky's Elite Eight loss to West Virginia two years ago.

While observing Teague's body language during the game one can sense that all Teague wants is for Calipari to shut up, just as Bledsoe did 2 years ago. The season is young and Teague is an amazing talent and Calipari, more often than not, does break through the freshmen mind, eventually. We have been spoiled with the likes of John Wall (who was very coachable) and Brandon Knight (who was also a great listener). So does the party end with Teague? I am not prepared to say yes, or no, we simply have to wait and see.

The statistics we must observe with regard to Teague's growth as a floor general is his assist to turnover ratio and early in the season Teague is struggling. But that is to be expected, no need to panic just yet. We can also compare him to John Wall's first two games as a Wildcat. We will also include John Wall's first tough opponent, which would be North Carolina.

John Wall - Miami (OH) - 70 -- Kentucky 72 ----- Points (19) - Assists (5) - Turnovers (5)

John Wall - Sam Houston State - 92 -- Kentucky 102 ----- Points (21) - Assists (6) - Turnovers (6)

John Wall - North Carolina - 66 -- Kentucky 68 ----- Points (16) - Assists (7) - Turnovers (7)

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Marquis Teague - Marist 58 -- Kentucky 108 ---- Points (16) - Assists (4) - Turnovers (3)

Marquis Teague - Kansas 65 -- Kentucky 75 ---- Points (12) - Assists (3) - Turnovers (6)

As you can see the early season stats of John Wall and Marquis Teague are quite similar. We must remember John Wall had no choice but to do a lot of heavy lifting himself, Marquis Teague is not in that position but it seems he would like to be in that position. Teague's FG percentage for the season is a decent 52% but his FT percentage is a dismal 50%. Teague has also committed 4 fouls in both games early in this season, this must be corrected, and fast, as UK will likely struggle if Teague has to take a long ride on the bench. Wall only committed 2 fouls in his first outing, 1 foul in his second game and only 2 fouls against North Carolina. Teague is no John Wall, that is obvious, as Wall had amazing body control on offense and on defense. This was one of Teague's shortcomings entering college as he has to learn to control himself while driving toward the basket. He will commit the occasional charge, that's just a byproduct of the Dribble Drive, but the silly frustration fouls on defense will reserve him a nice warm seat on the bench in Calipari's system. Teague must also stay off the ref's radar as refs have a tendency to bully whiny freshmen, especially whiny freshmen from UK. If Teague garners a bad reputation among SEC officials he might as well go ahead and pencil himself in one foul per game just because.

As we progress into the season Teague should be shooting less from the outside as we have the perfect ingredients this year to slay opponents with Calipari's Dribble-Drive offense. In Calipari's 3rd year as Kentucky's coach fans have been largely deprived of the Dribble Drive offense as the 09-10 team couldn't shoot from the outside and last year's team was simply weak in the paint. We have the perfect mix of shooters and post position players and that is good news for the Dribble Drive. We cannot yet judge this team's (as a team) performance as it is simply way too early to do so but as we move into December we should begin to see the fluid nature of the Dribble Drive offense come into full form.

So we hope that Calipari can coach-out the selfish play of Marquis Teague. Calipari is extremely transparent on the bench. You can tell if he is mad, happy, nervous or scared. So we will be able to judge Teague's improvement simply by the interaction between him and Calipari. Also observe Teague's interaction with his teammates. If Teague turns-out to be Eric Bledsoe part deux (with regard to attitude) then Kentucky may not achieve what this team is capable of achieving.

(Crossposted on The Rural Democrat)

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