Coach's trip impresses recruits

Kentucky recruits Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist are not easily impressed considering they are ranked as two of the nation's best high school players and have each received numerous honors during their prep careers.

Kentucky recruits Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist are not easily impressed considering they are ranked as two of the nation's best high school players and have each received numerous honors during their prep careers.

However, both players were impressed that Kentucky coach John Calipari came to Hamburg, Germany, to watch them play two games in the FIBA under 17 World Championship,

"I knew he was coming. We both knew that," said Teague, a point guard from Indianapolis. "But it really impressed me that he came all the way to Germany to watch us play and took time away from his own family to come watch us. He didn't say why he did it, and I am not sure why he did. I didn't really get to spend any time with him. I just saw him at the games, but it meant a lot that he cared enough to come."

Gilchrist, a forward from Philadelphia who is ranked as the nation's No. 1 senior, felt the same way.

"It did surprise me in one way that he would come, but we are all already like family at Kentucky. He just wanted to check on us and let us know he cared, and we appreciated that," Gilchrist said.

Gilchrist and Teague, who both verbally committed to UK in the spring, have had to adjust to non-starting roles with the USA team that will play for the gold medal today. Gilchrist missed the first week of training camp when he came down with the chicken pox and was not allowed to travel to Texas, but he says he is fine now.

"It took me a while to get back in playing shape, but I am fine," he said. "I really don't care about not starting. I just want to win the gold medal. I am not focused on me. I am just focused on our team and how we are doing. I really don't even remember when the last time I didn't start would have been because it doesn't matter."

Teague says he has enjoyed having so many talented teammates where he doesn't have to carry the team himself.

"This is Team USA. It's not about. I don't have a problem not starting," he said after Friday's win in Hamburg. "I just play hard and do what the coaches ask me to do. They don't need me to score. I just run the offense and try to be a lockdown defender when I come in. I do not have to do everything. I can focus on just running the team and playing defense. It's not all on my back.

"I just want to be a great floor leader. That's the main thing I am trying to do. My job is to help our team win games. I am talking a lot more on the floor. I talk to teammates and tell them where to go."

Teague views his experience as a head start on what playing at Kentucky will be like.

"It's really like a college team. We have a great coaching staff and great talent," he said. "It's really similar to what I think college will be like. I will know now what to expect when I get to Kentucky. I'll know what it is like to have great players around me. I have not been on teams with a lot of talent before. I've learned how to play with talent and control that. It will also help be a better leader on my high school team that doesn't have as much talent. I've really learned a lot that has made me a better player."

Gilchrist hopes this is a "preview" of how much fun college basketball will be. However, he has seen the improvement in Teague.

"He has grown as a leader and person, too," Gilchrist said. "He is getting a lot better. Me and him are best friends, so we are always together. He is like a big brother to me now. I love him."


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