Teague talks about Kentucky basketball

"I feel like everybody in Kentucky knows me and I?have not played a real game yet. That's real crazy, but they are die-hard fans. They love Kentucky basketball," said Teague, a freshman point guard. "I am so ready to get it started. I can't wait. It will be a great feeling to start a dynasty right from game one."

It didn't take a sold-out Big Blue Madness or a televised preseason Blue-White Game to let Marquis Teague fully understand how important Kentucky basketball was to fans well before Wednesday's exhibition game victory over Transylvania University.

"I feel like everybody in Kentucky knows me and I have not played a real game yet. That's real crazy, but they are die-hard fans. They love Kentucky basketball," said Teague, a freshman point guard. "I am so ready to get it started. I can't wait. It will be a great feeling to start a dynasty right from game one."

Dynasty?

That might be a big strong, but Kentucky is a consensus top five team going into the season even though four of its top seven players are expected to be true freshmen. Teague will be the one running coach John Calipari's offense as a true freshman just like Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Brandon Knight — all first-round NBA draft picks — have done in past seasons.

Early on, he'll turn the ball over and take bad shots. Early on, he's going to turn the ball over and he's going to take bad shots. I've got to make sure he stays out of foul trouble because he's really physical defensively.

"Early on, he'll turn the ball over and take bad shots. Early on, he's going to turn the ball over and he's going to take bad shots. I've got to make sure he stays out of foul trouble because he's really physical defensively," Calipari said.

Not many freshmen are too aggressive on defense as Calipari indicated Teague has been. The freshman doesn't disagree that he can be a bit physical on defense.

"That is a compliment. I take pride in my defense. I?like to play real hard and aggressive on defense and just pressure the ball. He told me sometimes I?need to pick and choose when I do that and not pick up silly fouls because I can be overly aggressive sometimes," Teague said. "He said I can't pick up no early fouls because he needs me on the floor to run the point. I can't make silly mistakes.

"We all really like playing defense. We like stopping people. We all have too much pride, we don't want to be scored on and let our teammates down. Our defense can help us get in fast breaks easier and get more shots and dunks. That's why I know working on defense is so important."

He feels the same about the weight room where his coach compared him to a "bulldog" because of the way he attacks workouts.

"I like lifting weights because I?know that is only going to benefit me. I?just embrace it and use it as a positive. On the floor, when I?go to the basket I can take bumps and contact a lot better and finish at the hoop a lot better than when I first got here, so I know it is helping," Teague said.

"I came in at 170 pounds and am now 187. I really just started lifting hard when I got here. You have to go hard here. It has improved my game because I like to play physical."

However, there has been one part of college basketball, especially during the preseason, which Teague did not like.

"The conditioning kills me. I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn't know it would be that tough. It is a whole different level here," Teague said. "The weight room is different. I can do that weight room. I am talking about running. When we are running and conditioning, that's hard. I?never really conditioned like that in high school. It's hard to really get yourself in shape."

Going against North Carolina State transfer Ryan Harrow daily has helped him, too.

"It is helping me out a lot. He has experience with college already and is teaching me some things he experienced last year. We are both kind of good players, so we just come out and compete with each other to make each other better," Teague said. "College is another step up. It's not high school where you can just beat players one on one every time. It's a lot tougher.

"I want to be a great player. I don't want to disappoint people when I come out on the floor. I want to make sure I?am ready to play, so I am in the gym as much as possible trying to get ready to play."

He's also still adjusting to the media and fan attention at Kentucky even though he had a taste of it early when he announced at his Indianapolis high school that he would sign with the Wildcats.

"Doron (Lamb) and them tried to tell me, but I?was like, ‘It's not like that.' But there are interviews and stuff all the time," Teague said. "I had UK?fans when I?committed at my press conference. I didn't expect them to come all the way to Indiana just for me to say I am coming here. They could have seen it on the Internet, but they came and that showed me a lot of support. Now they are doing it here, too. I can only imagine what it's going to be like when we play a real game."


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