Welcome to yet another episode of, "Days of Our Team."
Today, we will find out if Marquis Teague, one of the very top players in the 2011 basketball recruiting class, decides to come to Kentucky or Louisville. There is also a small but non-zero chance he could decide to go elsewhere.
As I write this, the consensus seems to be that Teague will announce for UK. Marc Maggard of True Blue Kentucky seems to think so, Anthony Wireman of Bluegrass State Basketball has a fairly detailed list of sources, apparently including some other UK recruits in that class that hold the opinion that Teague is coming to UK.
Sounds great, doesn't it? A couple of caveats:
- He hasn't announced yet and there seem to be no "official leaks";
- This is only a verbal. As a 2011 player, he will not be signing an LOI (probably ever) and he could change his mind anytime without penalty.
So be excited, okay, but realize that the college basketball world is changing arguably faster than it ever has. There are any number of things that can go wrong, or just plain change, between now and when Teague and Gilchrist arrive on campus. Michael Gilchrist has wanted to play for Cal since he was in grade school, but Teague is another matter. It's hard to imagine, if Teague does announce for UK, that Pitino will take it lying down. I know Rick Pitino pretty well (not personally, mind you, but I have followed him very closely), and a more competitive person does not walk the face of this earth.
At Card Chronicle, they are already preparing for the worst:
There will be LOTS of Pitino bashing, but other than "try harder" or "he should have said X or Y" what exactly could Pitino have done to get this kid? The current college basketball recruiting landscape for the very top subjects heavily favors Kentucky now. I know his dad played for Pitino, but why is that necessarily a lock?
A quick aside: Please do not go over there and agitate these people if Teague does announce for UK. Schadenfreude is fine in here (within reason) but let the denizens of other communities alone. I don't allow smack talk in here, and if Mike bans you for talking smack over there, I just might be inclined to follow suit. The Cardinals are our rivals. Let's show them respect, and let them celebrate or wallow in their misery, as the case may be.
What does this mean for Kentucky IF Marquis Teague decides to play here?
You know, this is simply dizzying. Never in my life did I imagine it possible for a coach to nab so many highly ranked players so fast. As a Kentucky fan, this feels like how it should have been all along. That's the good side.
The bad side is this -- there is simply no way that other institutions in the NCAA are going to allow this to continue. Teague will unquestionably be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back. Opposing coaches are NOT going to cede the top five in every recruiting class to Calipari, and if they can't beat him on the recruiting trail, they are going to try to beat him some other way.
Why? Because by and large, most college coaches have willingly gobbled up the narrative of those who dislike John Calipari, and they have willingly allowed themselves to be convinced, regardless of any evidence to the contrary, that he is a bad guy. That determination will be used to justify all manner of behavior, and who knows where it will lead? You have been warned.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I have no idea if Teague will actually commit to UK, and if he does, will he stay committed? As I said earlier, it's a good bet that Pitino will not take this lying down. Even though Calipari was unfairly accused of trying to snake Josh Selby, many college coaches declared the gentlemen's arrangement they previously had of not recruiting verbally committed players to have ended officially with that affair. If Teague comes to UK, you can bet they will end it anyway, and use that as an excuse to do so. Welcome to college football recruiting.
It has been said that there is one great constant ... change. What we are seeing here is history in the making, and change is sure to follow.