Why Teague is a fit for the Bulls


Why Teague is a fit for the Bulls

I'm not going to try to sell you on a rookie point guard who only spent one year in college and was selected 29th overall in last week's NBA Draft. But what I will tell you is Marquis Teague is not a 'waste of a pick' or a player who can't help the Bulls right now. But it might take some convincing for coach Tom Thibodeau to give this kid a fair shake in practice, considering Thibs isn't exactly a fan of inexperience, especially at the point guard position. But if we can get past our preconceived notions of what a traditional rotation looks like, Teague may play a worthy role here.
First, let's start with the fact that the Bulls, at one point this past season, carried three backup point guards to Derrick Rose, none of whom seemed to be able to carry the load in the end when it mattered most. I've seen enough of the veteran combination of C.J. Watson and John Lucas III in the playoffs to realize that sometimes experience doesn't mean much in crucial situations. I've also seen enough of Kirk Hinrich when he was with the Bulls and elsewhere to shrug at the thought of bringing him back. (I apologize to Hinrich lovers everywhere, but I just don't see it.) So call me crazy, but I actually think Teague is going to play a role next year. He might not be the starting point guard on Opening Night, as the Bulls seem intent on signing a veteran, but he may play himself into a role at some point given the uncertainty of Rose's return date.
Secondly, Teague has talent. It may be somewhat raw right now, but it can be honed and molded into what the Bulls need. I don't see this strictly as a future project. Had Teague stayed in school, he'd be a top ten pick in the draft next year. The way I look at it, Teague is a bargain at No. 29.
Teague's older brother, Jeff, who plays for the Atlanta Hawks, has proven to be a worthy opponent for the Bulls, giving Rose and company fits in the second round of the 2011 Playoffs. Marquis played with his brother many times growing up and, according to their mother Carol, the basketball court is the one place the two get ultra competitive with each other, otherwise they are 'very close.' Marquis has no doubt learned a lot from Jeff, just like he's sure to learn a lot from Rose. Both Teague and Rose were coached by John Calapari. Both have an aggressive, attacking style of play and competitive spirit.
Something tells me they may work well together.
In talking to Thibodeau at the Bulls press conference introducing Teague, I asked him if he sees the game changing, moving away from a traditional style of rotation where you have two guards, two forwards and a center. Could he envision Teague and Rose playing together?
"Absolutely," answered Thibodeau. "You see teams playing two point guards all the time. We may be in a situation where Rose and Teague are on the floor at the same time. The game is changing in that way."
I know what you're thinking. This isn't LeBron and Wade. Rose and Teague are too small to matchup well against bigger opposing lineups. Then again, I sat and watched Jrue Holliday and Lou Williams light up the Bulls in this year's Playoffs while playing at the same time, and those two are fairly undersized. Whatever works at any given time.
The point is, with coaching and development, Teague may be useful to the Bulls next season. He's already following in Rose's footsteps as far as doing what he needs to do to prepare for life in the NBA. His mother tells me that Marquis' older brother Shawn Jr. is going to move in with the Bulls rookie in Chicago to help him adjust to being on his own in a league that can eat you alive if you don't know what you're doing. Much like Derrick's older brother Reggie Rose, Teague will have some one looking out for his best interests so he can focus on improving his game. Being from Indianapolis, Marquis looked up to Rose (Jeff used to play against Derrick in AAU ball) and I have a feeling Rose will embrace the role of mentor well.
While Carol Teague says watching Marquis and Jeff play against each other in the NBA will be "the greatest moment of all," I say watching Rose show Teague the ropes in Chicago may make for some pretty interesting moments as well.
So, keep expectations tempered of course, but don't count Teague out just yet.
My instinct tells me the kid can play.

Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame


Kendall Gill named to Illini Athletics Hall of Fame

Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.

NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.

Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.

He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.

Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.

Recruiting news and notes: Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning piling up major offers


Recruiting news and notes: Lincoln-Way East's AJ Henning piling up major offers

Lincoln-Way East sophomore athlete recruit AJ Henning (5-foot-10, 170 pounds) continues to pile up the major Power 5 scholarship offers this winter including his latest from Stanford on Wednesday.

"Stanford offered me a scholarship today (Wednesday)," Henning said. "I have thirteen scholarship offers so far and it's pretty amazing to have opportunities from such great schools and football programs."

Henning, who was a key performer in leading the Griffins to the 2017 Class 8A state championship run has been taking all of the recruiting attention and offers in stride.

"My family and I talk about recruiting a little bit but it's not really that pressing for me," he said. "I still have two years left of high school so I'm really not in any rush."

Henning, who plans to visit Notre Dame on March 3 is now holding early scholarship offers from Central Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Miami of Ohio, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, Syracuse and Western Michigan.

Oswego East junior defensive back recruit Justin Clark (6-foot, 180 pounds) has also seen a nice spike in his overall recruiting stock this winter. Clark has been able to add six scholarship offers along with recruiting attention from several Big Ten programs.

"I have offers now from NIU, Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Iowa State, Toledo and Ohio University," according to Clark. "I've also been staying in touch with Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Purdue. Northwestern is waiting on my test score and they seem pretty interested. Iowa, Purdue and Minnesota all want me to come out and visit them on campus and the same goes for all the schools who have offered me."

Clark, who played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, safety, cornerback as well as return kicks and punts and also punted for Oswego East being recruiting to play at what position in college so far?

"So far the majority of schools are recruiting me to play safety," Clark said. "I'm very open when it comes to position and I also love to return kicks and punts. I just like to be as versatile of a player as I can for my team."

Batavia junior linebacker Michael Jansey Jr. (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) has continued to remain on several college recruiting radar screens this winter and Jansey Jr. has also seen his offers list grow.

"It seems like my recruiting is all starting to come together really well," Jansey Jr. said. "My latest offers from from Miami of Ohio, Kent State, Eastern Kentucky, Cornell and Wyoming."

Jansey Jr, has also remained in steady contact with several Big Ten schools this winter.

"I'm also in touch with Northwestern, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska," he said. "Also some of the SEC schools are starting to follow me on Twitter. It's just pretty exciting and my recruiting is really starting to all coming together."

Jansey Jr. has early scholarship offers now from Central Michigan, Ball State, Toledo, Illinois State, Iowa State, Western Michigan, Princeton, Cornell, Kent State, Miami of Ohio, Wyoming, Illinois State and Eastern Kentucky.

One of the better stories in the Class of 2019 in Chicagoland has to be Jacobs junior offensive tackle Joacheim Price (6-foot-8, 310 pounds). Price, who has been a mainstay on the Golden Eagles basketball team since his freshman year had never played football until last June. Price is now holding early offers from the likes of Illinois, West Virginia, Iowa State and Northern Illinois this winter. 

"The first time in summer football workouts I didn't know how to get into a stance," Price said. "I had to stay over after every practice that summer just to work on getting into a stance. I also had to learn all of the plays and also learn technique. I just hung in there and kept working and started to gain more and more confidence."