SOUTH BEND, IND. Back in his home state for the first time as a professional, Bulls rookie point guard Marquis Teague felt the pressure to perform.
With starter Kirk Hinrich sidelined, Nate Robinson filled in, meaning that Teague was the second-stringer for the evening.
In the second quarter, the Indianapolis native got his chance and while the numbers werent spectacular 0-for-1 shooting, a turnover and an assist apiece he looked remarkably improved from his previous exhibition outings.
Before the contest, the Bulls coaching staff was privately encouraged by Teagues development in practice and although he hadnt previously had a chance to play extended minutes, head coach Tom Thibodeau was an ardent defender of the first-round picks progress and afterwards, he voiced his satisfaction.
I thought Marquis played very well. In the second quarter, he was aggressive. I thought he got fouled on a full-court drive to the rim, didnt get the call, still stayed aggressive, so thats a good sign, Thibodeau said. I thought defensively, it was much better and thats all I want him to concentrate on, is his improvement. Learn, improve, come in the next day, improve some more.
As for Teague himself, the University of Kentucky product was quietly confident about how he made out.
I felt pretty good. I just want to play aggressive, run the offense and play good defense, he told CSNChicago.com. They just told me when I see the gaps, take them, be aggressive, so when they told me to be aggressive, it made me a lot more comfortable. Im just trying to play my game.
It didnt hurt that he had several well-wishers in attendance.
Oh yeah, always. When I come home, my familys here, everybody, friends, so I want to play better, Teague, who said he didnt grow up a Pacers fan, but acknowledged being a supporter of the NFLs Colts, admitted. I had a lot of people. Every time I play in Indianapolis or Indiana, Im going to have a lot of friends and family here.