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Jeff Eisenberg

Kentucky wins Blue Grass recruiting battle for Marquis Teague

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Marquis Teague may have quick hands, excellent feet and a unstoppable first step to the rim, but one thing the highly touted high school junior appears to lack is a keen sense of timing.

On any other mid-April afternoon, a consensus top-five prospect's college selection would have been college basketball's big news item of the day. On the day when the NCAA dropped its expansion bombshell, Teague's announcement got pushed to the fringes of the news cycle.

That Teague selected Kentucky over Louisville, however, was big news to basketball fans in the Blue Grass State. The 6-foot-2 point guard joins the No. 1 overall player in his class, wing Michael Gilchrist, in pledging to the Wildcats, giving John Calipari the foundation for a frighteningly good class of 2011 to go with a likely top-five class in 2010.

For a suddenly talent-starved Louisville program that started recruiting Teague two years ago and had been considered a heavy favorite to land him until recently, Thursday's announcement was a devastating blow. Rick Pitino coached Teague's father at Boston University and even hired a former assistant at Teague's high school to serve as a "special assistant" to his Louisville staff, but that wasn't enough to win a head-to-head battle with John Calipari.

"I almost committed to Louisville twice but that just shows what coach Cal can do," Teague said at his news conference today in his hometown of Indianapolis. "I'm glad it's over. It had been a lot of calls and questions in the past few weeks and I was ready to make a decision."

What swung Teague toward Louisville was Calipari's track record of producing top point guards. Derrick Rose is an NBA all-star, Tyreke Evans is the favorite for rookie of the year and John Wall is the leading contender to be selected No. 1 in the draft.

The only curious aspect of Teague's decision is that Kentucky already signed Brandon Knight, the class of 2010's top point guard. Either Teague is gambling that Knight will turn pro after just one season of college, or he's confident he can play alongside Knight in the same way that wall and Eric Bledsoe did this past season.

Teague raised a few eyebrows at his news conference when he expects Kentucky to build a "dynasty" because of Calipari's recruiting success.

That talk may be premature, but at least for now, the Wildcats have certainly established their in-state supremacy.

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