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Greivis Vasquez drafted, celebration begins

By the end of the first round of the NBA draft, things seem to devolve a bit. Some fans have already left. The Knicks and Nets fans are starting to think of goofy chants, and to mug for the cameras more than they were before. Some of the actual picks are virtually ignored.

But not the 28th this year. When Greivis Vasquez's name was announced, there was a commotion. He was sitting in one of the front rows of the MSG theater, along with many many family and friends, and they celebrated, in a party of Venezuelan flags and Terps jerseys and hugs. Greivis stood up and pumped his fist, enthusiastically. As he then headed to the other corner of the theater for his interviews, the flags and the jerseys followed, and as he then left the theater to head to his press conference, people shouted "Fear the Turtle."

I didn't listen to all of the post-pick press conferences, but I listened to a few, and they were mostly fairly rote. Greivis, as you'd expect, was not.

"I mean, I get emotional, because my country have been following me and supporting me like I'm the best baseball player coming out of Venezuela right now, and that's huge," he said. "I grew up watching baseball. I'm a baseball fan. To see people and young kids following me in my career in college in priceless. It's unbelievable, and that's another motive that I have.

"My country really pushed me inside of me to get better and just not to let my country down. I think having a chance to play and develop my game in the NBA is going to be huge, huge for my country, especially because what we are going through right now. It's going to bring happiness. People want to forget -- they just want to talk about sports, baseball, basketball. And right now we have a lot of baseball players but only one NBA guy, so I feel good about that."

And about the crowd reaction when he was picked?

"I was very thankful and I was shocked," Greivis said. "That was a great feeling, people supporting you, getting you back. That was great."

He mentioned Montrose Christian, and he mentioned Maryland several times, and since the draft is all about underclassmen and especially one-year guys, he was asked about being a four-year sort of fellow.

"I mean, I don't want to take anything away from the other guys," he said. "I think the guys that got drafted that were underclassmen, they are great players. No question they are. But I think playing four years in college will give you more experience and more maturity. So maybe you - not maybe, it's a fact - your decision-making is a lot better. It'll be like an adult, making a decision....

"I think nobody can take [the degree] away from me. Nobody. I mean, to me, it's not about money. To me, it's not about fame. To me it's about being a good person and a good basketball player, and like I say, I'm thankful that I went to Maryland, because the university gave me a chance to become a great person and a great player. And then winning the ACC player of the year, best point guard in the country and getting drafted in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies, I can't ask for anything else.

Oh yeah. Memphis. Thoughts?

"I'm happy that I'm going to Memphis, I'm happy for the city, I can't wait to get there," he said. "I'm just very excited and I'm happy, and I'm not going to let the Memphis fans down."

(Video via SB Nation DC)

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 24, 2010; 11:29 PM ET
Categories:  Terps , Wizards  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A vuvuzela at the NBA draft
Next: Kevin Seraphin, his fists and his Bulls hat


good luck Vasquez.

Posted by: arakakij | June 25, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I have to wonder how he passed Jr. English which is required of all MD students...

Posted by: Thundershock | June 25, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

You can get out of Junior English if you get an A in Freshman English, which is very easy if you get the right teacher.

Posted by: themattstapiece | June 25, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Greivis is a straight "G"!!! CONGRATS

Posted by: ntlekt | June 25, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to him.. it only gets harder from here. I see him as an overseas superstar in a few years.

Posted by: rvanags | June 25, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez speaks very well for someone who learned English six years ago.

Good luck to you, Greivis! UMD will miss you.

Posted by: jamieleighk | June 25, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations Greivis! I am happy for you! Don't take it for granted because you were one of only 60 players drafted. I hope you do well in the NBA.

Posted by: burnie4241 | June 25, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

My daughter speaks very good english too considering she just started learning it 3 1/2 years ago. It's a process.

But hey! She'll be going to kindergarten in a year and a half so it should get better!

Posted by: BigTee13 | June 25, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Congrats to Greivis!! Congrats to Maryland. Good Luck & keep that enthusiasm going & going. Go Terps!!

Posted by: kevinb2000 | June 25, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It always nice when a Hoya and Terp is drafted in the 1st round, so congrats to Greivis Vasquez and Greg Monroe, now do us proud.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | June 25, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

As a UM grad, loyal Terp fan, and ACC basketball junkie, seeing Vasquez getting drafted in the 1st round was the highlight of the draft for me. The guy was the heart and soul of the Terps the last two years; just ask Gary Williams about that ... and that's taking nothing away from the (soon to be?) resurrected Wizards franchise with the JWall pick. Let the games begin...

God bless you Greivis - you are a shining star!

Posted by: slimG | June 26, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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