Marquis Teague on a ‘big stage,’ but it won’t get smaller



Marquis Teague is stepping on a stage previously inhabited by Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him with the way they think a Coach Cal point guard should be,” Miller said.

It depends on how you define “Coach Cal point guard.”

The previous four have all been high scorers, but Teague doesn’t need to do that. Enough talent surrounds him, and all he needs to do is direct the offense.

“He’s got to make sure everybody’s getting touches,” Terrence Jones said.

The lineage had plenty of athleticism, quickness, transcendence, and Teague has those traits — although not in the same copious amounts as the others. He has yet to put together a game that stuns the other team.

More troubling, Teague has more often found a way to go the opposite way and hamper his team. After Tuesday’s win against Arkansas-Little Rock, Calipari noted UK played better with Teague on the bench.

Friday, Calipari explained the difference was that UK made shots — but those shots also came from a different lineup, one without Teague. Because Doron Lamb was running the point, that meant one more shooter was on the floor, and “that’s one more guy on the court that they’re going out to guard,” Calipari said, “which opens up the lane a little bit.”

That offense is still finding out what makes it click, which makes Teague all the more valuable as UK begins conference play. Through 15 games, he’s averaging 4.5 assists and 3.1 turnovers per game. Not a bad ratio, but he continues to make a few plays per game that point guards should not be making. He’s sixth on the team with 10.4 points per game but has taken the second-most shots on the team.

“I think he needs to get a little more comfortable,” Miller said. “It’s his first year and he’s on a pretty big stage.”

The stage isn’t getting any smaller. Teague will have to rise to the occasion.

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