Marquis Teague almost committed to Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals last year.
At one point, Teague had made up his mind and was going to play for Pitino, giving the Cardinal fans something to cheer about after a season of enduring non-stop chatter from their hated rivals in Kentucky blue, and after having to watch Calipari lose five star players and then immediatly start loading up his roster with the likes of Brandon Knight.
But, Teague did not commit. He kept his options open.
And, he kept listening to John Calipari, the head coach of Kentucky, as Calipari continued to try and woo the top PG in the 2011 class.
Teague, a 6’1″ point guard from Indianapolis, is the younger brother of former Wake Forest star and current NBA rookie Jeff Teague. The Demon Deacons were out of contention for younger brother Marquis early on, but it seemed it was Louisville’s race to lose at one point.
As the word leaked out today that Teague would be announcing his decision, he officially was down to a list of five schools: Cinncinati, Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana.
But the inside thinking was that it was a two horse race between Louisville and Kentucky, and the fact that Teague hadn’t already committed led many to believe it was actually the Wildcats in the driver seat.
A rumor even emerged yesterday that Lebron James had called Teague, and that Teague had told him that it would be Kentucky. However, Teague’s father said that was completely untrue, and according to Jody Demling, Teague responded, “I wish Lebron had called me. That would have been cool.”
“It’s has been really close. I also had Cincinnati in there. People don’t know I liked them a lot. Coach (Mick) Cronin and I are really close. It’s been real tough. It’s tough to tell coach Pitino no.”
Even though, on the surface, this looks like “just another recruiting win” for Kentucky and Calipari, it’s a real war blast from UK to Louisville. Jeff’s father, Shawn, played for Rick Pitino during the coach’s stint at Boston University, so the ties run deep.
Games aren’t necessarily won with recruit signings, but this is still a major blow to a Louisville program that probably thought it had Teague locked up.