Although Marquis Teague hasn’t logged very many minutes in his rookie season, he remains focused on the Bulls’ upcoming Thursday night Game 3 match up against the Brooklyn Nets.
“Just going over the plays and just trying to learn our personnel. Just sharpening up our plays and just making sure everyone is in the right spot,” Teague told CSNChicago.com after the Bulls’ practice Wednesday afternoon at the Berto Center.
Going from being such an integral part of the 2011-12 NCAA championship program at the University of Kentucky, where he was the team’s starting point guard, and only a year later being buried on the bench behind starting point guard Kirk Hinrich and back-up Nate Robinson could have been a mental recipe for disaster for the young rookie, but Teague has wisely used this opportunity to learn and improve his game, listening to the advice of the veterans.
“It’s been pretty good, just a learning experience. Trying to take it all in and learn from Nate and Kirk and ‘D. Rose.’ Listening to what they say and just get better,” explained Teague.
“It’s been a big adjustment. It’s a whole different ballgame on this level. Competition is a lot higher. I’m not getting the minutes I was used to getting [at Kentucky]. So it has just been a big adjustment trying to get used to it.”
Jeff Teague -- starting point guard for the Atlanta Hawks and older brother of Marquis -- is happy about his brother’s current situation and believes it will make him mentally stronger. The brothers have always been extremely close and for Jeff, seeing his brother get an opportunity to do something he is passionate about makes all the previous sibling rivalry worth it in the long run.
"I'm just happy for him, having this opportunity to do something that he loves to do,” said Jeff, who as a rookie experienced similar difficulties getting on the floor.
His teammates have also been very receptive of Teague and have all made an effort to make his transition easier.
“My whole team has been to me this year. Just with everything, making sure I am in the gym staying late. They have just been helping me out a lot,” said Teague.
The blossoming Jimmy Butler -- averaging 14.6 points and 42.4 minutes in the last 10 games, with nine points and 34.5 in the playoff series against the Nets -- was once in Teague’s transitional position and has offered positive guidance on being a rookie under Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau.
“I can feel for him in the ways of being a rookie. I would tell him to just keep working and your time is going to come and when it does come just show coach that you deserve to play,” Butler recently told CSNChicago.com.
“ I feel like he has done that at numerous amount of times this year, like he has been ready when somebody was down to step in and I feel like if he continues to work, he will be really successful.”
Teague is looking to log more minutes next season but understands this feat won’t be easy with Hinrich and the long-awaited return of former league MVP Derrick Rose. But Teague remains focused on making the necessary improvements to his game.
“I’ve just been in the gym working out every day; working on my outside shot. In the weight room trying to get stronger and to just continue to learn the system,” Teague commented.
Coach Tom Thibodeau has also taken notice of the rookie’s willingness to develop into a better player.
“Well, I see how he’s working every day in practice, but he’s also shown, in the minutes that he’s gotten, that he’s played well. In the Boston game, I thought he played very well. In this game, I thought Kirk’s been hurt before. When he’s out, Nate steps up. He does his job and Marquis comes in, and does his. And Marquis is just going to continue to get better and better. He’s a bright kid, working hard and he’s improving,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said earlier this season.
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With Teague’s positive outlook on what his future holds and his continued desire to improve his game, he could potentially grow into a reliable part of this Chicago Bulls team.