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Catching Up With Greivis Vasquez

While attending the LeBron James Skills Academy yesterday in Akron, Ohio, I caught up with Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez, who was one of 20 college players selected to attend the camp.

Vasquez said he's mostly been resting up his legs and lifting weights the past few weeks after deciding to pull his name out of the NBA draft and return to Maryland for his senior season. Later this summer, Vasquez plans to play for the Venezuelan national team in the FIBA Americas Championship from Aug. 26 to Sept. 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

As for next season, Vasquez said he has big plans for the Terrapins. Here is the transcript from our chat:

How’s the camp gone so far?
"It’s been pretty good, man. It’s a lot of fun for me, because all these NBA scouts, I already know them. I’m not really afraid of them. I just want to learn as much as I can. I’m always learning, and so far, so good. I thought [Monday] I had a good day. My team played pickup [games on Monday], and me and [Oklahoma guard] Willie Warren played pretty good together. We won every game. So that’s pretty cool, you know. Plus, he’s my roommate."

Did you guys scrimmage against LeBron Monday night?
"Yeah, we beat him twice. We beat his team twice. It’s fun, man. As far as being here, it’s a privilege. I’m just trying to learn and get ready for our season next year."

What have you been doing since pulling out of the NBA draft on June 15?
"I’ve been working out with the team, been back lifting weights and all that. I got a little rest on the running, because I’ve got to rest my ankles a little bit. I’m going to play with my national team this summer. I’m just trying not to overwhelm myself so I can be ready for next season. The last week of my NBA workouts, I did four workouts in five days."

How was your NBA draft experience?
"It was a great experience. I didn’t think I had a bad workout. I think I did outstanding, and I went to work matching up against Eric Maynor, Jrue Holliday, and I played outstanding. I went to Cleveland and matched up against Darren Collison, first-round picks. I did good. I just need one more year to get my team back in the tournament and go far and get myself ready and do what they want me to do, improve my testing in Chicago, you know, I got to prove that. Other than that, the core stuff I did great. I can only get better."

What kind of feedback did you get from NBA scouts and coaches?
"They look at me and they see me as a big point guard, which is an advantage. But in the meantime, the challenge is I’ve got to guard quicker guards than me, but I’m in the ACC. I’ve been able to guard Tywon [Lawson] and Jeff Teague, guys that went high in the draft, so, you know, I’ve just got to keep proving that I can do a good job guarding those guys and keep those guys in front of me.

"Definitely, I’m happy. I did the whole process just to try to learn. I didn’t do it because I wanted to try to go above Coach [Gary] Williams or saying I’m the best player in Maryland history, I should go, I should make it to the NBA, because as a player and a person I know the NBA is a lot bigger than me and the NCAA and Maryland. It is. I was just trying to do the process with the mentality that I was going to get better and get good competition every day in those workouts against a lot of big-time guys. It was good exposure for me."

On being selected to attend the camp:
"Coming over here, it’s a plus. It’s not like I’m definitely going to get drafted, but it’s a plus. Those guys [NBA scouts] are just looking at me and now I have one more year so they’re going to look at me closely. I’m looking forward to keep working and having a good summer and heading back to Maryland to lead my team because it’s going to be my team."

On the last couple of days before making the decision to return to Maryland:
"It was hard, you know, because I had a couple teams really wanting me, but they weren’t sure. I think it’s not bad for me to go back one more year and get my degree and get a shot to go first round. As of right now, nothing is guaranteed, so I have to work my butt off and get better if I want to be in that first round range. I know I’m capable, so I’m just going to keep working."

On Maryland’s prospects for next season:
"It’s like I said, I’m going to do whatever it takes to take the Terps, my team, back to the [NCAA] tournament and lead them and try to win something in the ACC because I think it’s wide open. I think the ACC is wide open and it’s going to be pretty much even. I already know Coach Williams is going to do a great job coaching us. We got the big guys, we got all the guards coming back, so it’s a matter of putting everybody on the same page and making sure everybody knows their role. I think we’re in pretty good shape. I really believe that we can be a great team next year. I think we’re good right now and throughout the season we can become great, but it’s going to take a lot of work, and I’m going to make sure that everybody understands that because this is my senior year and I want to do something special."

On his plans for the rest of the summer:
"I’m going to get back to Maryland and finish my online class. I’m going to rest for a little bit and lift weights, and then I’m going to go to Birmingham, Alabama, to a tournament [in late July] with my national team. It’s going to be Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic. We’re playing there for a couple of days. Then when we’re done with that tournament, we’re going to go back to Venezuela as a team for a couple more days and then we take off to Puerto Rico. The tournament in Puerto Rico is to qualify for the [FIBA world championships next year in Turkey]."

By Steve Yanda  |  July 8, 2009; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Details on this Greivis Vasquez in Birmingham, Alabama thing? I am intensely interested in that.

Posted by: Colm1 | July 8, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully he still has his legs come March. That's a lot of wear and tear during the off season, when most players are getting their rest.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 8, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Barno,

I am happy to let others decide. The Koolaid drinkers are with you. The people who expect a better program are with me.

Being one of 64 teams is NOT a measure of success. Let's talk Sweet 16's and Elite 8's.

Posted by: petecard | July 6, 2009 6:32 PM
=======================================

Nail, meet head.

Of course for some just getting into The Big Dance is enough. These are the same people who are happy with the football team finishing at or a little over .500.

Oh well.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 8, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

There are 2 groups of Maryland fans:

The A-Group, who have been fans of the team forever, goes to the games whenever they possibly can, sometimes travels to road games in support of the team, if they're not at the game wouldn't dare missing it on tv, some donate to the terrapin club, and always supports the team the same regardless of whether they are winning or losing. The A-Group is probably anywhere in the neighborhood of 99% of people who would call describe themselves as MD fans.

Then there's the B-Group. They mostly became fans of the Terps around the time that the team won a national championship, rarely if ever attend games, more interested in the box scores than the games themselves, and if the team is losing they are the first ones to demand heads roll and hall of fame coaches be fired. Even when things are good, they find reasons to criticize. They also spend a ton of time on internet blogs bashing their supposed team, its players, and its coach. Luckily, the B-Group constitutes only about 1% of MD fans.

I think we all know which group Poopy and Petey are members of.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 8, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Yep, group A. Was actually back at my mother's house last week and looked at some old photos of mine and I was wearing the Terps gear loud and proud from probably the time I was 8 or so.

Hahahahahaha, shows how much you know.

I also like how to Barno and the Koolaiders, if you demand more from Gary, Fridge, the bball or football teams you're a "fakey fan." Like somehow people don't have to be held accountable for performance.

What a world we live in.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 8, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Poopy,

Have you given any thought to my suggestion that you seek professional help?

Your head could use some serious shrinking.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 8, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I like how all this section fella can talk about is me. It's almost scary and stalkerish.

And this guy is suggesting I get help? Wow. Someone must've spiked your terp kool aid something powerful.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | July 9, 2009 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Despite Vasquez' return to school, I still don't see him getting drafted in the first round. There are plenty of great college PG's that don't though so it is nothing really to be ashamed of. I see him as a second round draft pick and a bench player in the NBA. Certainly respectable.

Now I also see him leading this team deep into the NCAA's. I'm expecting Mosley and Milbourne to improve drastically, Hayes to become really nothing more than a outside shooter off the bench (despite some flashes of solid play), and the 2 big kids to give us the normal freshman 50 good/50 unremarkable games. This is a deep, deep team. So much room for improvement from nearly everyone on the team - and this is a team that went to the Sweet 16 last year.

Good things on the horizon fellas.

Posted by: fushezzi | July 9, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

F -

Team did not make sweet 16 last year. Won first round game and fizzled against Memphis. Consider myself group A - don't often go to games but do try to watch as many of them as possible. Want to see the team perform well through the season and go far into NCAAs. Depends on Burney and the freshmen big men.

hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | July 9, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I also want to know more about this Birmingham tournament at the end of the month. I found all kinds of info on the Puerto Rico FIBA qualifier, but nothing about a Birmingham tourney.

I have business in GA later this month and wouldn't mind a detour to cheer Greivas on in int'l competition. Any help tracking this tourney down would be appreciated.

Posted by: texasterp | July 9, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You are correct Hugh...I guess I just assumed we'll be awarded a Sweet 16 appearance for last year after Memphis loses all its wins for the last 6 years due to sanctions.

Seriously, I do not know what I was thinking. No more posting for me before 9am.

Posted by: fushezzi | July 9, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

I have read in previous threads that a good number of people think that "Gary does more with less". My question, which I have asked in the past but has never been answered, is why? He is a great coach, you guys have tremendous facilities (MUCH better than Duke, VA Tech, UVA, etc.)and Maryland has a really good academic reputation. In addition, you are in the middle of a hotbed of talent!

The fact of the matter is that you guys are only relevant, on a national scale, when you beat Duke and UNC. I know that sounds harsh, but it is the truth.

So, what needs to happen to elevate your program?

Posted by: NCMatt1 | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

So, what needs to happen to elevate your program?

Posted by: NCMatt1 | July 9, 2009 1:06 PM

When only a handful of programs in the country have done what MD has done this decade, I don't think anything is needed to "elevate" the program. When you are ranked 17th going into a season, I don't think anything is needed to "elevate" a program. When you have more games on national television than any school outside the state of North Carolina, that sort of proves you are "relevant on a national scale."

What you seem to be implying is that Md doesn't have the talent, which is simply a myth. It's a popular myth, but it's still a myth. MD has had more players in the NBA over the last 15 years than any school outside of North Carolina/Duke. Md has had 4 Top 25 recruiting classes in the last 7 years including two Top 5 classes. In 2 of the other years, there was no chance we'd have a top ranked class because they were 1-player classes (Gist in 04, Neal in 05).

As has been noted countless times on here, 2 of the 3 NIT trips this decade would have been avoided had our best player not been out with an injury most of 04/05 and our top scorer not been ineligible most of 05/06. Those were devastating losses, and yet Gary still got both teams to win 19 games and come within a game of the tourney in both years.

With a healthy squad next season this team is capable of winning 25 games, compete for an ACC championship, and a deep run in the NCAA tourney.

Posted by: Barno1 | July 9, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

NCMatt makes a point.

GW teams seem to like the underdog image - they won it all w/o any McD's all-Americans. We do not get the consistent level of talent that UNC, Duke and UConn (ok, ok snipe about the recent relevations but look at the talent they have had). When we DO get a big time player we seem to want to look at them as diamonds in the rough. Steve Francis is really the only super-hyped name that we have had that compares to a Ty Lawson or Sean May or Rashard Lewis for UNC. The first few classes after the NC were clearly disappointing for all of their hype - especially after the ACC tourney win. We had won with nobodies who worked their tails off (ok, mebbe not Wilcox who was a phenom of a talent) to huge names who may have been working hard but did not deliver consistency.

That said, I like the GV+EH+LM class of recruits. They are seniors and played like it last year - after a huge in-season swoon. We saw a very similar swoon in 2001 when Juan and Lonny pulled it together and led them to the final four. Coming into this year - the bench is deep at 1,2 and 3 (assuming LM can play in position). They have a proven, decent 4/5 in DG. They should win quite a few games with merely a serviceable big man to compliment DG.

In terms of relevance, UNC and Duke are consistently great programs - and the ACC is good for producing at least a few other great teams from season to season. On this board, as much sniping that happens, we want to see OUR team be one of those relevant teams this year. If we go 12-4 in the ACC and get swept by UNC and Duke but get to the final 4 or better, will we really care about getting swept by Duke and UNC? uhh YEAH we will. It all matters!!! That said, we recently have lost relevance during the course of the regular season with some of the goose egg games our team has laid, and some of the beatings we have had at the hands of the ACC. Degree of relevance also seems to be a consistent issue on this board - does being invited to the NCAA as the last at-large team really count as success? It would have if we had beaten Memphis.

Welcome to the board NCMatt. At some point please divulge whether you support Duke or UNC. Otherwise the frequent posters will assume you are here only to bash MD.

Posted by: HughGRection | July 9, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

One other point. NC State basketball is considered more relevant in the state of NC than Duke - though perhaps not on a national scale unless they are winning in the ACC.

Posted by: HughGRection | July 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

HughGRection,

Thanks for the hospitality. I am a huge UNC fan and can not stand Dook. But, I lived for a number of years in the Northern VA area and have seen the kind of talent that is within driving distance of College Park. I have also been to the Comcast Center and am amazed how great the facilities are. Even though I never want to lose to MD, I actually root for them when they are not playing my 'Heels. I woudl really like to see them back in the top 15-20 on a consistent basis so that it strengthens the ACC. There is nothing like ACC basketball when you have a bunch of highly ranked teams and there are no "gimme" games. I am just curious to see what MD fans think of the current state of their basketball program and what needs to happen to improve it.

Posted by: NCMatt1 | July 9, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Matt,

Agree. Love it when the ACC is pounding outside the conference (the acc/b10 challenge has always been so satisfyingly lopsided) and beating each other up to win. that said, I root for ALL ACC teams (except of course, UVA) when they are not playing for the championship if only because we split the money!!! Congratulations on making Obama look good with his picks this year. Top 15 is very achievable this year, barring injuries for us. To your question - how come so much top talent disappears? How many kids, with all of their options and belief that they will go pro want to go to a school within driving distance of their parents? Remember the locals who choose MD usually come with their existing posses. Gary has to weed through that as well. Back in Lefty's day, we owned the DeMatha pipeline moreso than any other school, but John Thompson owned Dunbar (of Baltimore). Knowing what I have seen of the dirty proving ground that is AAU basketball, Gary has to work double time to keep the program clean. It is a testament that not many of the ACC schools have had a lot of bball recruiting violations.

Congrats on your mnost recent NC. I have to admit, I do not dislike Duke any more or less than UNC. I do like NC State (maybe b/c they are typically underdogs) a bit.

Let me know one thing - is it a disappointing year for UNC if it does not end with a NC? What constitutes success for UNC's program and do you think MD should have the same expectations?

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | July 10, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

HGR,

I think that UNC fans are disappointed if we don't win a NC, when we are expected to (i.e. 2005 and 2009). With that being said, we all realize that since the NCAA tourney is a one and done, it is impossible to win it every year. I would feel a whole lot better if it were a best of 3 series, but then they would be playing into May!

So, for most years I think that a deep run into the tourney is what is expected. For example, I expect an appearance in the sweet 16 this year and anything more than that is gravy. Now, if we have everyone stay for the following year (Davis, Henson, etc.), then I would expect them to make it to the final four.

In regards to Maryland, I think that there is no doubt that you guys should make the NCAA tourney every year, not most years. With the coaching staff that you guys have, I would expect that you should be able to make it out of the 1st round almost every time.

For this upcoming season if I were a MD fan I would consider anything less than the sweet 16 a disappointment. You guys have too much experience not to make it that far in the tourney.

Posted by: NCMatt1 | July 10, 2009 8:26 AM | Report abuse

NCMatt -

I don't know if Maryland was ever expected to win it - even when we did! I think most pools across the country had picked Duke that year and Kansas had a phenomenal level of talent and an excellent coach as well (who left for a better job). I do believe Barno's points that a few of the recent years were akin to the second year of Doherty at UNC (when Peppers abruptly left to focus on football) which was the one punching bag year I've ever seen a UNC team have. No disrespect intended - two NCs since that point have more than assuaged that bitter memory. MD has not had a complete punching bag year in the ACC since before Joe Smith. We've missed out on being one of the last few teams invited to the dance. I agree with you on the coaching at the head coach level; I think some of our recent disappointments has been due to the turnover in assistant coaches (which lets face it, Roy W. and coach K. deal with as well - gladly). I don't begrudge a college player going pro early - all the top schools have to deal with it. I DO begrudge bonehead blunders like McCray - who was a very good college player and our best that year - skipping classes when they are already on probation and getting suspended for the rest of the season. I think a great poll for this board would be to find out who everyone's second favorite ACC team is or which set of teams do they root for when the Terps are not involved. Mine are NC State, Wake, GA tech, then UNC. Va Tech I am haveing a hard time rooting for but do not dislike them. Think BC shoulda stayed in the Big East and we shoulda got WVU or ECU instead to keep the geography sane.., and I dislike Boston teams and fans. That said, I almost never root against ACC teams come tournament time or outside of conference....except for UVA. I always root against UVA. btw - I equate the Terps NC to the one UNC won against the Fab 5 in that none of those guys (from the UNC team) really were tremendous pro players but were uperclassmen who had improved over the course of their college careers.

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | July 10, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Matt,

It's simple. We need a coach who will get off of his ass and recruit. Even so, GW would probably also need some sales training and a stint at charm school.

Barno might help though if he could meet and greet the prospects and serve them the koolaid.

By the way, it's almost certain that Barno is an alias for GW himself, who spends a great deal of time on this site when he isn't golfing...

But remember...WE ARE PRESEASON #17!!!!!

LMAO...

Posted by: petecard | July 13, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

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