Bulls Teague 'coming of age' in offseason

Bulls Teague 'coming of age' in offseason
August 14, 2013, 2:15 pm
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Mark Strotman

Marquis Teague has had quite a busy summer, to the point where he doesn't even consider having had an offseason following the Bulls' loss in the Eastern semifinals to the Miami Heat.

Between helping run an AAU team in Indianapolis with his brother, Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, giving back to the community through a Boys and Girls Club, and putting together a solid Summer League run in Las Vegas, the 20-year-old Teague said he has found himself improving in all areas.

The Bulls reserve point guard joined the Mully and Hanley Show on 670 The Score earlier today and spoke about his busy offseason, which included leading the Bulls in scoring and assists during their Summer League run in Las Vegas.

"I can feel it each and every day, from my outside shot, just getting stronger, getting in better shape, said Teague, who averaged 18.3 points on 44 percent shooting and 4.8 assists. “I've been with [the Bulls] non-stop since the season started... I haven't had an offseason yet. We're just gonna keep working.

"It was my second go-around at [the Summer League], so I knew what to expect. I just came in confident and played aggressive, and I was successful."

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It was an up-and-down rookie season for the Kentucky point guard, who saw a slight increase in minutes behind Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson following Derrick Rose's ACL injury. In 48 regular-season games Teague averaged 2.1 points and 1.3 assists in a little more than eight minutes per game. He also appeared in seven postseason games, where he averaged 0.5 points and 0.8 assists in 12.5 minutes.

And while he continues to improve on the court, he's quickly learning just how important it is to give back to the community.

Prior to the Cubs' Wednesday afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds, Teague threw out the ceremonial first pitch. It's the first baseball game he's ever been to but, more importantly, is part of a project with the James R. Jordan Boys and Girls Club, which sent 200 kids to the game. The Cubs are also donating $10,000 to the club.

"We feel it's real important to give back to the students, to give them something to look forward to. Just show them what hard work and dedication can help you with," he said. "We just want to give them a positive look on things."

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Summer camps for youth run by the Bulls has also been an important part of Teague's growth, and despite being just three years removed from high school he understands what it means to give his time to the community.

"We just try to have little camps for kids to get the opportunity to come out and just be around us, get to work on their skills or whatever," he said. "But just to be around them, just for them to see your face, just means a lot to them to know you're taking your time out to come out and help them."

Teague hasn't been alone in his progress through one season and half an offseason. He told Mully and Hanley that Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose have been influential to his game, and noted that playing behind the former MVP has given him a boost against other point guards.

"I get a chance to play against Derrick every day, practice with him, making me a better point guard. I feel like when I play against other guards in the league it's not gonna be as tough, going against him. I think he's the best point guard in the NBA, in my opinion," Teague said. "Every day, he's going at our heads, too. He's the same kind of player; he's got the same mentality. He's making it as tough as he can on us every day. And we try to do the same; we're trying to help him get better also. It's hard work every day, it's been good."

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Teague was also asked about the controversial topic of collegiate athletes being paid for their services. In his only season at Kentucky, Teague's Wildcats won 40 games and a national championship, and Teague was one of six players on the roster drafted in the 2012 NBA draft, including four in the first round.

"I feel like they should get a little something because they're bringing in so much money to these universities," he said. "And just the fact that, you're school's paid for and all that, but outside of that some people, they come from different backgrounds so they need a little extra help. I feel like they need just to survive, I feel like they should get paid something."