Each and every weekend, little Marquis Teagues can be spotted in gyms across America.
They’re the bored, annoyed tots and toddlers who get dragged by their parents to basketball games played by older siblings.
Marquis had it particularly rough. Not only was his brother Jeff one of the top prospects in the state of Indiana, there were a couple of older siblings who played college basketball at the Division II and NAIA levels.
Gym bag in one hand, little brother in the other. That’s about how it went.
“When I was younger, I didn’t really like basketball,” Marquis said Monday at the Berto Center, where he was introduced as the newest member of the Bulls. “I really didn’t like going to the games.”
For a while, Teague found his own niche as a football player and lined up at quarterback until sixth grade. That’s when the pull became too strong and another Teague joined the family business.
The trend began long ago. After leading Anderson (Ind.) to the 1979 state championship game, Teague’s father, Shawn, spent a year at Missouri, playing with Steve Stipanovich and Jon Sundvold.
After the single season, Shawn decided to transfer to Boston University and join his older brother John. The Terriers’ coach at the time was a young go-getter named Rick Pitino, who had yet to turn 30.
“He was the best,” Shawn Teague said of Pitino. “Very, very demanding, but he was a guy, you wanted to do all the simple things in a game, because he rewarded that. It made you want to dive through a wall going after a loose ball.
“You knew you were going to get game ball if you got so many deflections, rather than scoring 30 points. It was definitely a blessing to have him as part of my life.”
When Teague was a senior at Boston University, one of his teammates was Drederick Irving, father of Kyrie, the top pick in last year’s NBA draft.
Back home in Indiana, the drag-alongs began with Shawn’s adult-league games. Jeff, now starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, is 5 years older than Marquis, so that meant more time in a gym watching basketball.
“There came a point where (Marquis) didn’t feel like he was being dragged anymore,” Shawn said. “If there was a vacant basket somewhere, he was on that basket shooting.”
Then there was the backyard basketball hoop at the Teague home in Northwest Indianapolis. A family this into basketball has got to have one of those, right?
“I think we were moving in and they were putting the basketball court in,” said Carol Teague, Marquis’ mother. “We’ve been there for almost 13 years.”
It’s just a half court and there are no lights, but the hoop became a popular gathering place.
“We used to be on the court at midnight playing basketball in the dark, where you can’t see the rim,” Marquis said. “Guys were coming over, having 5-on-5 games. It would be tight (crowded), but we’d still play.
“That court did a lot for us. That started the whole thing with basketball for us, in the back yard.”
Once Marquis focused on basketball, the rise was quick. Highly recruited point guard at Kentucky, national championship as a freshman and now the 29th pick of the NBA draft and proud owner of a No. 25 Bulls jersey.
“He met every challenge in college, and we expect him to do the same here,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. “The first step is to get into the gym, learn the system, learn his teammates, just get ready for summer league and go step by step.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.