"I grabbed Marquis Teague right after the game, he and I by ourselves, and I said, 'Look, I got all the faith in you in the world. You keep them honest, shooting jumpers. So if they're not playing you and you want to let it go, you let it go. And then if you don't want to play that way, then you cut to the rim.'"
The Tigers don't fear Teague's scoring capability. They sag away and guard the other Wildcats harder. Teague, after a season of being told to pass first, is slow on the trigger during Kentucky's first game in the conference tournament. He misses all five shots he takes, and while he has a game-high five assists, he turns the ball over four times in an ugly 60--51 win. This is a necessary lesson. Teague has learned to control his scoring instincts. Now, he knows he must unleash them when the team needs him to score.
MARCH 17 VS. IOWA STATE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT'S ROUND OF 32
EXASPERATION LEVEL: NONEXISTENT
"Today, they really left him. They left him to trap in the post. They left him on the perimeter. And I told him, 'Look, you've got to keep people honest. Score the ball. I know you can score.'"
Just as LSU did, the Cyclones sag away from Teague. Instead of hesitating, he shoots. He drives. He punishes Iowa State for a career-high 24 points while also dishing out seven assists and committing only two turnovers. He doesn't shoot as well in Kentucky's Sweet 16 win over Indiana, but Teague replicates the seven-assist, two-turnover performance against the Hoosiers.
Though Teague has a quieter eight points against Baylor in the regional final, entering the Final Four, Calipari understands the weapon he has in his point guard. Teague understands exactly what Calipari wants. The journey may have been frustrating, but the end result may be a national title. "He's getting more confident in me every game," Teague says.
MARCH 31 VS. LOUISVILLE IN THE FINAL FOUR