DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Marquis Teague never worked out for the Chicago Bulls before the NBA draft, but as long as he keeps the attitude he displayed on Monday morning he should be fine the next time he comes to the Berto Center and gets barked at by Tom Thibodeau.
"I just want to come in every day and work hard," Teague said during his introductory news conference. "Try to get better, help my team any way I can to win. I'm just ready to come in and work."
That’s obviously music to Thibodeau's ears. The Bulls front office stated all along that they were surprised Teague, a Kentucky Wildcats standout, fell to them with the 29th pick, and Bulls GM Gar Forman reiterated that Monday. With Teague just 19 years old, the Bulls brass wants to make it clear that while they expect Teague to come in and work hard, they don't want to put too much pressure on him too early.
"It's a big jump," Thibodeau said. "And I think it's a big jump going from high school to college. Certainly the program he was in [at Kentucky] he met every challenge in college and we expect him to do the same here. The first step is getting into the gym and start working and learning our system, learn his teammates, and just get ready for summer league and just go step by step."
Teague said one of the strengths of his game is his on-the-ball defense and one of the things he needs to work on most is his jump shot. He acknowledged that he was also surprised that he fell to Chicago and said he just wants to come in and set a tone early.
"I was pretty surprised [to be a Bull]," Teague said. "I didn't have any workouts for this team and I really didn't know where I was going to land. When they picked me, I was just happy to be a part of this program and I'm ready to get things started."
Teague, the brother of Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague, is hoping to learn a lot from injured Bulls point guard Derrick Rose. He hasn't gotten a chance to speak with the former MVP yet, but he knows the time is coming when he can “pick his brain.”
"I think I'm going to be able to learn a lot from him," Teague said. "He's one of the best point guards in the league, if not the best. I'm going to just take advantage of that every single day, try to come in and just compete and just get better each and every day."
Both Forman and Thibodeau have mentioned in recent days the importance of Teague coming from a winning background. Forman noted that again on Monday and admitted that's something his organization looks for in a rookie.
"It's something really over the last seven or eight years we have put a premium on," Forman said. "The fact that Marquis played at the highest level, played against the best competition in America in the SEC and then through the NCAA Tournament, and then has won at a high level ... it's also important that he played for a coach like coach [John] Calipari where there are a lot of demands placed on him."