ATLANTA — Xavier’s Justin Martin and Jeff Robinson, both Indianapolis natives, are not surprised that Kentucky’s Marquis Teague has had a successful freshman season.
“I remember playing against him when I was a junior and senior in high school. He was always a good player. I remember the special things he did for his team at Pike and he’s doing the same thing here. Just on a more wide scale set with more talent,” said Robinson, a 6-10 junior.
“I¿played against him once a year,” Martin, a freshman, said. “I actually got to see his brother (Jeff who is now in the NBA) play when I¿was a freshman and he was a senior and when Marquis came along it was kind of like a carbon copy. They are both aggressive, explosive. They make very good decisions. They lived in the lane and were very good. Marquis just lived in the lane in high school and nobody could stop him.”
Teague, like Martin and Robinson, was an Indianapolis standout before coming to Kentucky, where he’ll lead UK against Indiana tonight after Xavier plays Baylor.
“It would be nice to play them, but we have Baylor first,” Martin said. “I would love to play against the best. But at least I¿hope Kentucky fans will be for us. That would increase our numbers to 25,000 or 30,00 fans. Kentucky fans travel probably the best in America. I¿hope they are for us.
Robinson says he feels a sense of pride in seeing what Teague — who is averaging 9.9 points per game and has a team-high 173 assists — has done for Kentucky.
“Indiana is a basketball state. Seeing a fellow Indiana player doing well gives us a sense of pride,” Robinson said Thursday. “I have watched him a few games. He has done really well. They have a really talented team and he’s a big part of that.”
Martin said Teague was always “fun to play against” and that his team often had to switch its game plan to contain Teague, or at least try to contain him.
“He was really the focal point of their team. He has always been a good player. We beat them, but don’t get me wrong they were close games for the most part. I think I¿lost to them one time in my career, but he was really good,” Martin said. “I expected the success he has had because he is such a good player and his decision making is second to none.
“It doesn’t hurt to play with Anthony Davis and Terrence Jones, but it doesn’t surprise me because back in high school he made great decisions with people he had on his team. They weren’t Anthony Davis or Terrence Jones, so with them on his team I knew he would be great.”
Martin admitted he watches Kentucky “a lot” on TV.
“I am a coach (John) Calipari fan. I like to see their success. I watched the Indiana game,” Martin said. “Calipari is a player’s coach. I¿like playing for a player’s coach. I like how he adapts to his players and the personnel he has. I like to see how he gets every team year in, year out when he is quoted as the one and done coach, to play so well. It’s kind of nice to see how he turns it around every year and this year Teague has really helped him do that.”
UK Basketball: Xavier guards Martin, Robinson not surprised by Marquis Teague's play
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