UK's 2011 Class Looking Solid
By BEN JACKEY
One Great Season
Perched on a hillside along Interstate 64, a billboard reminds motorists what a rivalry is all about.
Adorned in Cardinal black and red, it reads "We're Miles Ahead." The fact cannot be argued. Travelling westbound from Lexington, the University of Louisville campus is situated about 50 miles ahead of where you encounter this sign. But, the jab at the University of Kentucky was unmistakable.
About 150 miles from that sign, at an Indianapolis high school, a 6-2 point guard effectively erected a figurative billboard that, clad in Kentucky blue, could read "Still Little Brother."
Marquis Teague, brother of NBA guard Jeff Teague, announced he will join what could be an epic 2011 recruiting class for Big Blue. Teague is widely viewed as the class' No. 1 point guard and No. 2 player overall. The nation's top junior, Michael Gilchrist, already has announced his commitment to be a Cat. The potential is mouth-watering. However, this blue-chipper's decision is a victory regardless of how many victories it yields on the court.
Adidas seemingly had the Louisville jersey with Teague's name on the back already in production ... two years ago. Many know the story by now: Rick Pitino coached Teague's father, Shawn, at Boston University. Pitino also hired Teague's former assistant coach, Shabaka Lands, as a "special assistant" last summer (and you still complain about Worldwide Wes). There was some debate over whether U of L's agreement to play a home-and-home with Butler was arranged with the Indianapolis product in mind. This made it look like a done deal.
Enter Calipari. Late. Waaay late. Welcome, Marquis to Point Guard U.
Is Teague as good as advertised? Seems improbable. In fact, Courier-Journal columnist Rick Bozich pointed out some startling statistics about Teague's junior season:
+ He shot a puzzling 43 percent from the field
+ Shot 66 percent from the line
+ Averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for a Pike High School team that went 15-7 and failed to win its sectional
The victory is the imagery. I can almost hear the sharp objects carving up the wrists of U of L fans. This was a recruiting coup. And with every coup comes an ouster. Trust me, there are Cards fans already sitting on hold for sports talk shows that haven't started yet so they can be among the first to call for Pitino's head.
It's like a tall man holding a ball over his head and daring his young sibling to take it from him. You'll always be the little brother.
Jackey is an Emmy Award-winning former television reporter and die-hard Kentucky basketball fan living in Louisville.