LEXINGTON — Marquis Teague takes basketball seriously. He also means business even when he's lifting weights and taking instructions from his coach.
It's always been that way for the freshman point guard, the leading candidate to take over as the floor general for the Wildcats this season.
“I just try to go hard at everything I do,” he said. “I try to win every game I play in, even if it's just practice or anything. I just come out and play as hard as I can.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari took note of Teague's attention span during his first seven hours of workouts with the team so far this season.
“Marquis Teague stares at me when I talk to him,” Calipari said. “I tell you, an open eye, what am I saying — he's going to do exactly what I say, it's unbelievable. He looks like one of the most coachable guys I've had to this point.”
Teague is simply “taking it all in (and) trying to get ready.”
“I just listen to him, and if you don't, he'll make sure that you do,” he said with a smile. “He'll yell at you or tell you to look at him.”
Teague never took weightlifting seriously until he arrived at Kentucky and only pumped iron at Pike High School in Indianapolis on a part-time basis. However, Since he's been on campus, Teague has developed a reputation as one of the team's top performers in the weight room.
“They tell me that Marquis has been the best in the weight room of any freshman that I've had,” Calipari said. “So that's why when you look at him he's like a pit bulldog right now.”
Teague admitted following in the footsteps of other noted Kentucky point guards John Wall and Brandon Knight has “some pressure,” but isn't concerned about matching the skills of his two predecessors.
“I try to not to look at it like that,” he said. “I just want to come in and play my game and help us win a national championship.”
Teague described his style as “pushing the ball in the open court, a scorer, playmaker and getting people involved.”
“I just run the floor and be a leader,” he said.
He also doesn't mind playing defense, either, which he said led to the pit bulldog reputation.
“I play defense real aggressively,” he said.
During the recruiting process, Teague chose Kentucky over Indiana and Louisville, and most of his friends and family in the Hoosier State labeled him as a “traitor” after Teague made the decision to attend Kentucky.
“That comes with (recruiting),” he said. “You have to expect it. You have to ignore it and focus on the school that you chose.”
Teague has Dec. 10 circled on his calendar. That's when the Wildcats will take on the Hoosiers in a 5:15 p.m. tipoff in Bloomington.
“I can't wait to play them,” he said with a smile.
He added that Calipari's reputation for “taking guards to the next level” played a role in his decision to play for the Wildcats.
“He teaches you how to play the game,” he said. “He teaches you the right decisions to make and he lets you (have) a lot of freedom on the floor.”
As for his own goals, Teague isn't looking ahead and is taking his first semester with the Wildcats in stride.
“I'm here to get an education and win as many games as possible,” he said.