The rich just keep getting richer, at least on the college basketball scene. A week after landing Brandon Knight, the top-rated player in the 2010 class, John Calipari has reeled in one of the top prospects in the 2011 class, Marquis Teague, according to Scout.com (via John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader).
Teague, the No. 4 recruit in the 2011 class, is a 6'2'' guard who should add to the long-line of elite point guards Calipari has coached throughout his career. Indeed, Calipari's success with players like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and now John Wall was reportedly a key factor for Teague, whose brother is current Atlanta Hawks rookie Jeff Teague. He will join the top recruit in the 2011 class, Michael Gilchrist, and the two figure to form an extremely formidable duo in Lexington in two year's time.
While it's certainly no shock to see Calipari land a top player, the details of Teague's recruitment make his verbal commitment today especially sweet for the Big Blue faithful (and, as a corollary, a stomach-punch for Louisville fans). Rick Pitino had been on a two-year quest to get Teague to commit to donning Louisville's colors, and that, combined with the fact that Teague's father had played for Pitino at Louisville, made the Cardinals the odds-on favorites to land the talented guard -- until that is, Calipari swooped in. Rumors circulated that Lebron James had even called Teague to pitch Kentucky (James' marketing company recently signed former Wildcat John Wall, so the Global Icon appears to have a standing relationship with Calipari), as a sign of how acrimonious and heated his recruitment became among the in-state rivals. With Teague seeming like all but a sure thing to commit to Kentucky shortly before his official announcement, SB Nation's Card Chronicle wondered what, if anything else, Pitino could have done:
Calipari (and if rumors are to be believed, WWW and Lebron) are tough people to recruit against, and it's not just Pitino losing guys to him/them. While UK didn't make the Final Four, Calipari and his superstar freshman were the talk of the college basketball world this season, were on the cover of all sorts of magazines, profiled on TV, had Drake and WWW and Lebron at games, and have 5 guys who will go in the first round. To today's top flight players, winning the tournament isn't everything. By the measure of things a lot of these kids are looking for, UK had an extremely, extremely successful season. [...]
And I think that's what it all comes down to: the dirty little secret is that Pitino is not going to develop players for the NBA. Pitino is going to develop players to fit his system to help Louisville win basketball games. If that development also helps a player make it in the NBA (like it did with Garcia and T-Will), then all the better. But when that system requires a guy like Samardo to play center because he can't play the 4 in our offense or defense, then that doesn't help Samardo develop the specific skills he will need to make it in the NBA.
Teague averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists per game in his junior year of high school at Indianapolis Pike High School.