DEERFIELD – College recruiters have smiles and sales pitches.
NBA scouts have shot charts and strength tests.
As for mothers, well, they have instincts.
Carol Teague arrived at the Berto Center on Monday to hear something that she already knew: Her son, Marquis, had a gift for basketball.
“He doesn’t like to lose,” Carol Teague said with a laugh as Marquis conducted TV interviews on the opposite side of the Bulls’ practice gym. “He tries to do whatever it takes to win. He’s a special kid.”
Make that a special kid who is about to become an NBA player.
The Bulls introduced Teague, 19, four days after selecting him with the 29th pick in the NBA Draft. The ex-Kentucky point guard sat beside Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and general manager Gar Forman and flashed a smile as he held up his new No. 25 jersey.
When Teague dons that jersey for his NBA debut this fall, he will follow in the footsteps of his brother, Jeff, who helped teach him the game while both were growing up in Indianapolis.
Jeff Teague now is a fourth-year point guard for the Atlanta Hawks, where he averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 assists in 66 starts last season.
“We’re pretty competitive people,” Marquis Teague said. “We had a lot of battles in the backyard growing up together.
“It just helped me become the player I am today. I love my brother, and I just thank him for everything he’s done for me.”
Their love for basketball came from their father, Shawn Teague, who sat beside his wife as Forman and Thibodeau praised their son’s potential. Shawn Teague played at Boston University under head coach Rick Pitino and had NBA tryouts with the Golden State Warriors and Indiana Pacers.
As a father, Shawn Teague watched his sons’ hard-fought games. Marquis Teague was almost 5 years younger than Jeff but proved to be scrappy.
“With Marquis being that much younger, a lot of times he kind of resorted to other tricks to try to compete,” Shawn Teague said. “They weren’t always fair. They would have been fouls in most games. …
“They got after it.”
Often, Carol Teague had to intervene to quell disputes.
“Always,” Carol Teague said. “Because Marquis never wanted to lose, and Jeff was not about to let him win. We had to tell [Marquis], ‘Calm down, it’s going to be OK.’
“But I think Jeff is like, ‘I’m not going to fool with him now. He’s gotten a little bigger, stronger, quicker, so I’m going to let him have his ground now.’ ”
Although Marquis Teague blossomed at Kentucky, he acknowledged the NBA would offer a much tougher test. The 6-foot-2, 189-pound player averaged 10 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman but shot only 41.2 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from beyond the arc.
“My strengths are I can attack the rim and create plays for my teammates,” Teague said. “I can defend on the ball.”
“[As for] my weaknesses, I’m just trying to work on my outside shot, get a little stronger and work on my off-the-ball defense.”
The Bulls believe Teague can improve in all of those categories and eventually become a skilled point guard along with MVP teammate Derrick Rose.
Meanwhile, the Teagues barely can believe they will have a second child complete the journey from their backyard hoop to the NBA.
“I guess it just hasn’t set in like that yet,” Shawn Teague said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s nothing that I ever really imagined.
“It’s just here, and I’m so proud of them.”