The basketball basic of pace figures prominently in the ongoing evolution of University of Kentucky freshman point guard Marquis Teague.
"He keeps telling me to keep working on my pace, Teague said Tuesday of UK Coach John Calipari. "Making sure my pace is right."
Like all point guards, Teague must know when to push the pace and when to throttle back.
"Sometimes I like to push the ball up the floor full speed," he said. "He wants me to slow it up sometimes and run some offense."
Of course, opposing defenses greatly impact this decision-making. If the opposition has retreated quickly and set up its defense, the point guard must look to organize an offense, Teague said. If the defense fails to get back, the point guard should push the pace.
But what about the gray area, say, when two or three defenders beat the offense down court?
"Attack them," Teague said. "If they're all back, that's the one time he wants me to slow it down. At all (other) times, he wants me to attack."
Calipari noted that drills and game planning only go so far in the education of a point guard. Playing in games is an irreplaceable element.
"He needs more games to learn, just like all those point guards I've had," Calipari said of Teague. "(Point guards are not complete) till they get in and feel it: when to pull back, when to push it, when to attack, when to shoot the jumper, when to throw the lob," the UK coach said.
Teague apparently soaks up the coach's instruction quickly. "He's picking up weak-side defense faster than any point guard I've had, which is the hardest thing to do," Calipari said.
Calipari noted his preference to play scrimmages, a setting that allows coaches to stop play and instruct. But the near-capacity crowd in Rupp Arena for UK's exhibition with Transylvania makes scrimmages a no-go. According to NCAA rules, fans cannot attend scrimmages.
"Here it's just impossible to say, '$700,000 (forfeited), don't worry about it. Just scrimmage, Coach,'" Calipari said. "You can't have anybody in the building (for a scrimmage), or I'd do it that way."
The exhibition will feature block-charge arcs in the lanes, Calipari noted.
Those arcs, which the NBA has used for years, are designed to prevent a secondary defender from slipping into the basket area and taking a "charge" from an unsuspecting driver, Calipari said.
However, it's not that simple. A charge might be called if the primary defender holds his ground inside the arc, then goes down when the driver resumes his move after coming to a stop, the UK coach said.
And a baseline drive can result in a charge if the defender is under the basket.
"Hopefully, it'll take the secondary defender away from the basket," Calipari said of the arc, "so we can throw more lobs."
Calipari declined to name starters. He said UK has as many as seven players who could start.
Through the two exhibition games, it will be obvious to fans who the starters will be, he said.
Transy, a Division III school, is favored to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference. UK is favored to win the Southeastern Conference.
"A matchup of two teams picked first in their conferences," a smiling Transy Coach Brian Lane said of the exhibition. "It sounds close on paper. I know it'll be close at the beginning."
Being five blocks from Rupp Arena, Transy figures to have a cheering section.
"We'll have a decent amount of Transy support," Lane said before adding, "but a lot of Transy supporters will still be wearing blue, though."
Thanks to UK
Transy spokesman Glenn Osborne said the school raised about $30,000 from Sunday's fund-raiser dinner first suggested by Calipari.
Transy will also receive a $15,000 guarantee for playing the game.
Transy Athletics Director Jack Ebel noted Monday how the money helped the school send its men's and women's teams to Canada earlier this fall. That tour translated into 10 extra days of practice, Lane said.
Transy can also use the money to make repairs to fields and upgrade its gyms.
■ Lane will go into the season needing eight victories to tie C.M. Newton for second-most by a Transy coach. The career leader is his father, Don Lane.
■ Dave Baker, Kyle Macy and sideline reporter Rob Bromley will call the game for Fox Sports South, Big Blue Network (Channel 27 in Lexington) and the online broadcast on ESPN3.