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Vasquez to Fans: 'Support Us or Get Out'

This is an entry I'm posting on our new blog, Press Break, but I'll post it here, too. Here is the link to Press Break, where we have a wide assortment of notes, analysis, tidbits, bracketology and many more things. We'll have a lot of local and regional (ACC/Big East) coverage on Press Break:

Maryland won’t play its first road game until Wednesday, but Greivis Vasquez played today’s home game against Georgia Tech as if he were in the most hostile environment in the ACC.

When Vasquez missed a shot or made a mistake, a cluster of Maryland students either booed the guard or yelled for Vasquez to shape up. And Vasquez responded at least three times by turning toward his classmates (once while dribbling the ball), putting his index finger over his lips and telling them to “Shut the [expletive] up!”

Vasquez sat at his locker after the come-from-behind victory -- one Maryland desperately needed --- and offered a clear message to a fair-weather fan base: “If they don’t believe in us, they can get the hell out. We don’t need them anyway. We need the people who will support us, who are with us. I know they are all happy now, but they didn’t believe in us when we were down.”

Vasquez’s frequent back-and-forth with his own fans was one of the most compelling aspects in a sloppily played, ragged game. And it added a new layer to the off-again, on-again relationship between Maryland’s best player and a fan base accustomed to better days in College Park.

Until the Morgan State game, Maryland had done everything it needed to do to piece together a NCAA tournament-quality non-conference profile. But attendance at Comcast Center has been a problem during non-conference season. The fans that have come cheer (or boo). But there have been lots of empty, even for a semi-marquee matchup with Michigan.

Coach Gary Williams won’t criticize the crowd. But Vasquez never shies away from an opinion, and he has often mentioned in recent years how quickly the fans jump on and off the Terrapins’ bandwagon.

At one point, the fans seemed a little taken aback by Vasquez’s animosity. Coming out of a timeout with 9 seconds remaining – the victory secured – Vasquez walked over in front of the Maryland student section and unleashed a slew of expletives, telling the fans to “shut up!”

One student, bewildered, responded, “But we love you, Greivis.”

Vasquez turned away.

“They don’t believe in what we do,” Vasquez said. “I didn’t shoot well, no one else did. But they always get on me. They are always expecting something out of me. I’m not here for the fans. I’m here for myself, my family and Coach Williams.”

Vasquez said Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech have student sections that support their teams regardless of the performance. And he said to think this team resembles last year’s team that struggled through non-conference play is wrong, adding, “We are a totally different team. What the hell are they thinking?”

Maryland is the only team in the RPI’s top 100 yet to play a road game. That changes Wednesday, when the Terps travel to Miami. Vasquez relished the road, always has.

“Everyone hates us on the road,” he said. “It might be me. That’s why I want our fans on our side. Our fans can be the best.”

By Eric Prisbell  |  January 10, 2009; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Terps Claim Comeback Win Over GaTech, 68-61

Comments

With all his "faults" (ball hogging, ill advised shots, rushed and errant passes), I truly have to wonder how much better GV would play if he'd stop the chest pounding, the cheerleading, the animated screaming at the refs and the useless bantering and heckling with the crowd. Focus on the game...that's my biggest criticism of him.

Posted by: Trippey | January 10, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

What is Press Break...can you provide a link please?

Posted by: Trippey | January 10, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I would never boo a player on my team, and do not condone the fans who did this, but GV is showing his immaturity here.

This is NOT the way to garner support from your home fans. He should just focus on playing well and they'll support him.

And to say that he does not play for the fans, who provide his scholarship, is ridiculous.

Posted by: srcog | January 10, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I second the comment by Trippey. can you please post a link for subscribing to "Press Break".

Thanks,

Posted by: erniegogo | January 10, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Terp fans are used to 'something better', you wrote. Not among the undergrads. Few, if any of them have been here for the good old days. Now, it's the same old same old, downhill since 2002. The problem with fans may be twofold: watching Coach Williams give up his self control every game, and increasingly stronger programs among the ACC rank and file. No doubt many feel that Williams ought to snag McDonald All Americans by the half-dozen, much as Duke does. Ain't gonna happen.

Maryland's glory days are long gone. Duke and Carolina, too, will coast downhill, in good time.

Posted by: AncientTerp | January 10, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Dear GreIvis:
Grow a thick skin, son. You think you're the only person who gets booed on his home court? The same people who go to these games pay their hard-earned money, which isn't easy to come by these days, also help pay for that free ride you enjoy for the four years you are here. If they are complaining, it's because they want a return on their investment. When you turn the ball over or take ill-advised shots, people are naturally going to vent their frustration. Get over it.
Yes there are a lot of fair-weather fans--there were many of them when I went there too-- but you can't risk alienating the true fans who follow the Terps, win or lose. Booing comes with the territory. If you don't like it, then find something where people won't see your mistakes, like chemistry or somehting. Or better yet, just stop the chest-beating and yelling at the fans and JUST PLAY BALL.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | January 10, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

If Vasquez doesn't want fans criticizing him, he shouldn't do such incredibly frustrating things. He still occasionally takes ridiculous three-pointers that don't have a prayer of going in, makes horrible decisions with the ball, tries to force action where no action willl be forced...and he's a junior. It's really hard to watch a player with such electrifying talent play so boneheadedly, and it's insulting to be told that we're not allowed, for lack of a better word, to be frustrated by that.

I agree that the home fans should not boo home players. Period. But Vasquez needs to look at himself first before lashing out at people who would love to support him.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | January 10, 2009 10:55 PM | Report abuse

We do love you Greivis. We want you to play for us, we are proud to have you representing us. You are an adopted son of Maryland! Stay strong, and don't let the jerks get you down.

Posted by: jathfort | January 11, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

fans are booing vasquez for one reason: he's an incredibly selfish ballplayer on the court. if he just wasn't a very good talent, no one would boo him. but there are stretches in the game, where he hurts our chances to win because of terrible terrible shots and ball-hogging into charges and turnovers. he's not a freshman anymore. or a sophomore. he had this same problem last year. and it looks like he hasn't learned a thing.

it's easy to root for someone who is good. it's even easy to root for someone who's not that good and trying to get better.

it's hard to root for someone who is good, but gets in the way of other teammates trying to improve themselves. i'm sure he doesn't mean to, but many times on the court, he plays that way. maybe he's just not good at taking criticism from anyone on his game, cuz i'd like to think that at least the coaches have advised him on where to improve.

from what i see, maryland fans tend to only boo you when you play stupid continually.

Posted by: segastyle | January 11, 2009 2:29 AM | Report abuse

It's silly to boo your team's star player or your team. Just silly. It can certainly be frustrating to watch your team underachieve or make unfortunate plays, but why in the world would you boo your own team? Just silly. Sure, GV could just let it alone. And, he might in the future but, frankly, that just doesn't seem to be his style. And, that's the same personality and style that fuels an incredible talent. So, I think all of the fans need to relax and just deal with it. There are going to be ups and downs, but you just have to deal with it. If you know a great deal about the game and you'd like to contribute, then volunteer to be a stat person or something. Don't boo your own team. Silly. People wonder why MD has a hard time recruiting players from within the state (oh yeah, and do you really think that GW doesn't recruit five star players from within the state? That's also silly. They typically leave because other schools promise to make them superstars. That's not GW's style and I applaud him for his commitment to team basketball). By the way, MD fans have a reputation. If you don't think so, then just ask a few other people around the country who follow college basketball. We, as MD fans, need to do a better job of supporting our own team -- through the good years and the bad years. Booing your team? Silly.

Posted by: charles20001 | January 11, 2009 5:58 AM | Report abuse

I just graduated from MD this past spring. I wasn't at the game yesterday, but I do not blame anyone for booing Vasquez. I grew up watching Maryland basketball and that was one of the reasons I decided to go to Maryland. I missed only a handful of games during my four years at Maryland, often driving from my parents home to campus during winter break to watch non-conference games. The team and Vasquez has made fans the way they are. Gary led this team to elite status and since, they've struggled. They've failed to capitalize on winning a national championship more than any other recent championship team. They have settled into mediocrity. The Maryland basketball team was one of the most frustrating teams I've watched in recent years. Every time you'd think they would get on a roll and make the tournament, they'd falter. Beating Duke several times and even UNC last year had fans believing this team was going to the tournament only for them to blow it one way or the other; like last year, on senior night of all nights, when they blew a double digit lead with less than 10 minutes to go against an average clemson team.

What bothers me most about this team is Grevis Vasquez. He walks around campus with a cockiness with his head phones on and his head up in the air like he's god's gift to basketball. Well, he's not. Sure, he's a good player, but not as good as he, or Gary Williams, thinks he is. He forces extremely too many shots, makes too many mistakes for the number of plays he does make, and doesn't trust his teammates. How does anyone expect Braxton Dupree to gain confidence when he never gets the ball and when he does, if he makes a mistake, he has to listen to Vasquez chew him out or Vasquez visually show his frustration towards Dupree. Some teammate that is. And he thinks we should be praising him? For what, its not like he's led the team back to the tournament consistently. Sure, they went to the tournament 2 years ago, but that wasn't due to Vasquez. And for all the yelling Gary does on the sidelines, hardly any of it is directed at Vasquez. Last season, they handed out a "TERRAPINS FOREVER" poster at a couple of the games. On the poster, were some of the greats that have played at Maryland (Dixon, Blake, Bias, Elmer, McMillen), and then there was Grevis Vasquez. Why he was on this poster, I have no clue. There is no reason he should be in the same status as these other players, as he has accomplished nothing during his time at Maryland. I honestly believe that this team would have no worse a record than they do now, if Grevis Vasquez entered the draft last year.

Posted by: asparrow | January 11, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, Maryland isn't UNC or Duke. We don't root for anything wearing red, and we're called "ignorant" for it. If Vasquez is going to set the bar for himself by acting like a jerk on the court (blowing kisses to the crowd, taunting opposing student sectinos), and doesn't live up to it. Why shouldn't we let him know about it.

Frankly, Vasquez embarrasses me as a Maryland fan, and it has nothing to do with missing shots. If he were a better player, he would be the most hated player in the ACC.

Posted by: someguy100 | January 11, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I have been saying what you are saying now for 3 years. I have never seen what everyone is is so impressed with in Grevis Vasquez. I was at the game as I am almost all of them, and the last poster hit it on the head, he makes you ashamed to be a terp fan. And now that he has made his bed with all his jersy tugging, chest pounding, kiss blowing arrogance, he can't stand it that we all don't think he is god's gift to basketball.

Sports writers and Gary don't help either as they give him excuses. They say he is just an emotional player and that he is young. Well you didn't take care of the spoiled child when he was young, so now you have a problem on your hands. Don't blame the fans, you made this situation, now you have to live with it. What did you expect?

Posted by: dbrine1261 | January 11, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I remember when Steve Francis was here and started all the hot dogging he got benched. Steve Francis was basketball god, and he got benched for less than half of what Vasquez gets away with daily. The same with every other player that acted as if he was more than the team since as far back as I can remember. For some reason they put up with this clown. I really hope he would get the message but that isnt going to happen. He has been trained that it is ok and that he is the one that is right, so since he can't or won't grow up, I hope he gets mad and files for the draft. 15 more games and then next stop the Italian Pro League.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | January 11, 2009 10:49 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez is a clown!

Posted by: jabeane | January 12, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

There's a difference between supporting your team and letting a player know he crossed the line. I know we're not the best team, and I know we don't get the best talent from the surrounding area, but the team can at least play smart basketball. There is already enough going against this team so the margin for error is nonexistent. If Vasquez holds the ball and takes one or two more ill-advised shots instead of passing to Hayes, we lose this game.

Posted by: merkey88 | January 12, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Support us or get out.

Greivis,
Get this, MD fans weren't booing the team, they were booing you. You are not the team. When you go 0-5 from three point line, and the team is trying to make a come-back, then you throw a turnaround 3 pointer towards the hoop it deflates any momentum built. Everyone knows you shouldn't take those kinds of shots, even gary williams knows it. When you take it, you earn both the right to be booed and the right to sit on the bench.

Posted by: AndrewR1 | January 12, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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