Vasquez shows Van Pelt his huevos
Scott Van Pelt's presence at Wednesday night's game was impossible to miss; he was shown on the big screen, shown on ESPN's broadcast, saluted by at least three posters in the crowd and sitting pretty darn close to the action, and directly behind Juan Dixon.
The best part of his appearance, though, must have been missed by almost everyone, including me. When Vasquez was on the free throw line in the final moments, he apparently turned to Van Pelt and made a certain gesture. I'll let the ESPN anchor tell the story, via his appearance on ESPN 980's The Fix.
"You know, it's early in the day here, we should keep it PG," Van Pelt began, "but suffice it to say over the years I have branded him with a nickname, Huevos, which means eggs. Put two and two together. Greivis turned to me and just gestured in a way that would indicate yes indeed, huevos. I'll just leave it at that. It was one of those shake your head moments with Greivis, where he let you know that yes indeed, I am a man, and the man."
Van Pelt's Maryland fandom used to strike me as odd for a journalist, but what the heck, that's who he is. He's so dang enthusiastic and yet rational about the whole thing that it can't help but come over well, after a while. For example, he said that the atmosphere was "seismic," that Maryland fans should be "better than" their profane chants, and that he went up to Jon Scheyer's dad after the game so he could have one positive experience with a Terps fan, "to let him know that we're not all savages." And he said, correctly, that Wednesday night has nothing to do with how far the Terps will go this March; that it stands on its own as the rare sporting event you'll remember for ages.
"And whether that means that they're able to dream about playing deep into the second weekend or the third or not is neither here nor there as far as last night's concerned," he told Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro. "Big picture, are we talking about the level of play of the Duke-Maryland games from the early 2000s? Clearly not. Those games had six, seven pros on the floor at one time. I don't know that there were four pros on the court last night, but that doesn't diminish for one second what last night was....It was a special night. For those kids, it was a night to remember forever."
And yes, Van Pelt wound up at Bentley's before the night ended, despite the riot police. He was greeted enthusiastically. "It was a fitting cap to the evening," he said.
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