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News » Hawks' new point guard gets earful in his debut

Hawks' new point guard gets earful in his debut

Hawks' new point guard gets earful in his debut
Jeff Teague's "Welcome to the NBA" moment came 90 minutes into his first workout as a pro.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson barked a few words at his rookie point guard. And then he barked a few more, spending the time to remind Teague that he wasn't at Wake Forest anymore and that if he planned on running this team someday, he needed to be more assertive.

"Yeah, that was good to get that out on the first day," Teague said outside the Hawks' locker room after the team's first minicamp practice Monday night at Philips Arena. "And that doesn't bother me one bit. Coach is from Indiana, like me. And that's just the way we do it in Indiana."

Teague has been at home since the weekend after draft night late last month. The Hawks didn't have a summer league team in Orlando earlier this month or in Las Vegas last week, so Teague didn't get a chance to play competitively like the rest of his draft class.

He couldn't even play pickup ball before Monday because he hadn't signed his contract, a formality he took care of Monday.

That would explain the mile-wide grin that he couldn't shake after his first workout as the Hawks' point guard of the future. And there wasn't even any live scrimmage action. Woodson said that won't come until tonight.

"This is my first time getting up and down the floor in forever," Teague said. "It was fun just to be out there with all those guys. I didn't get the chance to play the way I wanted to back home, so this is going to be my chance to cut loose a little bit. When we start scrimmaging, it's really going to get fun. I just have to play defense and really show that I can do that at this level. I can't wait."

Woodson and his staff similarly couldn't wait to get Teague and the 21 other participants on the floor. He said they'll be working overtime on Teague, now that he's officially in the fold.

"We're going to touch him again once he leaves here," Woodson said. "We'll be in his ear. I want him to know exactly what's coming. He has to be vocal and be ready to run this team because if he's not, the vets will eat him up in training camp. But he's got the tools. And it's going to be a learning process. I think he'll be fine."

Hawks assistant coach Larry Drew thinks so, too. He spent extra time after practice with Teague and said he'll spend a lot more with his prized pupil as time goes on.

It's always a painstaking process, breaking in a new point guard. But it's even more so when it's a player like Teague, who is long on talent but short on seasoning; he played just two seasons at Wake Forest before entering the draft.

"The thing that intrigues me, though, is that he is so skilled," Drew said. "Since I've been here, we have not had a point guard with his type of speed that can make a shot and has all the tools to run the pick-and-roll. And that's something you have to defend every night in the NBA."

Drew said he'll also guard against any sort of psychological fatigue.

"He's got a long career ahead of him," Drew said. "We've got to nurture him the right way as a young point guard and make sure his path is the proper one."

Teague doesn't have a permanent place to stay in Atlanta. In fact, he hasn't begun searching.

"My mom is coming to town next week sometime to look around and pick something out," Teague said. "I told her whatever she chooses is fine with me. Things are starting to settle down, though. At least I'm back on the court. That's the most important thing for me."

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: July 21, 2009


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