After sitting the entire 2011-12 season per NCAA transfer rules, Eugene Teague warmly introduced himself in his Pirate debut on Friday.
(Credit: Gabe Rhodes/Seton Hall Athletics)
Teague, the starting center for Seton Hall, used his physical advantage against the UMKC Roos en route to tallying 14 points and seven boards as the Hall cruised to a 75-36 victory. Perhaps the only area where Teague misfired was at the line, where he converted on just six of 14 attempts. Overall, however, it was a successful return to D-1 action for the redshirt junior who transferred east after two productive seasons at Southern Illinois.
“He’s built like a Mack Truck,” said Seton Hall Asst. Dan McHale.
That much is clear. At 6-9, 290 pounds, Teague is a specimen and should be able to bang with the most physical frontcourts the Hall will face in the Big East. A Missouri Valley Conference All-Rookie Team selection three years ago, Teague followed that up by averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 boards per game during his sophomore season in 2010-11.
Nearly two years later, his first impression as a Pirate resonated with the coaching staff.
“Gene imposed his will early by carving his niche in the paint and controlling the glass. He also outran his opponent and got deep post position,” said McHale. The Mack Truck stays in his own lane too, meaning it’s not likely he’ll be found floating too far from the paint. And once the 6-9 Teague seals, that spells bad news for opponents. He shot nearly 61% from the floor his final season in Carbondale.
Teague will no doubt face stiffer competition inside, beginning tonight when Seton Hall tips against a surprisingly long MEAC team in Norfolk State which goes 6-6, 6-8 and 7-foot across its front line. Later in the week, the Pirates face Washington and then perhaps Ohio State in the Hall of Fame TipOff Classic at Mohegan Sun.
The focus, however, will remain the same for the new big man in South Orange.
“He just needs to keep using his wide frame and low center of gravity as an advantage,” said McHale. “He has surprising quick hops.”
A soft-spoken, happy-go-lucky kid according to those who know him best, Teague looked comfortable in game one — a welcome sign for Coach Kevin Willard and his Pirates.
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