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Vasquez Competing at FIBA Americas Championship

Today is the third day of pool play at the FIBA Americas Championship in Puerto Rico, and so far the results have been mixed for Maryland senior guard Greivis Vasquez, who is competing for his native Venezuela. In two games, Vasquez has compiled 11 points, 10 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 turnovers for Venezuela, which is 1-1 entering today's contest against Panama.

Venezuela kicked off the tournament Wednesday with an 85-69 win over Argentina and then fell Thursday to Brazil, 87-67. Later today, Venezuela will square off against Panama, which is 0-1 after an off day Wednesday and a 100-87 loss Thursday to the Dominican Republic.

As for Vasquez, he tallied seven points, seven assists, three rebounds and four turnovers in the opening win over Argentina. He shot 2 of 6 from the field in 30 minutes.

Vasquez struggled in the loss to Brazil, with four points, three assists and one rebound, though he did not record a turnover against a Brazil defense that focused on limiting Vasquez's effectiveness. He shot 2 of 7 from the field in 24 minutes.

Brazil Coach Jose Manuel "Moncho" Monsalve told his players, specifically Diego Pinheiro, to guard Vasquez closely, according to a report released by the Venezuelan Basketball Federation.

"Against Argentina, it was fundamentally Greivis Vasquez who controlled the game in the match and therefore provided the victory to his team over them," Monsalve said, according to the report. "But that marking and the strong defense we applied throughout the game led us to the triumph over Venezuela."

It is important to note that Vasquez is relied on more as a facilitator than as a scorer on the Venezuelan national team. He starts at point guard and is expected primarily to create scoring opportunities for his teammates, as opposed to at Maryland where it is more necessary for him to rack up points. Former NBA player Oscar Torres and Hector Romero, who played at the University of New Orleans before beginning a career in European leagues, are Venezuela's top scorers. Still, as one of the team's key performers, Vasquez's 30.8 shooting percentage (4 of 13) thus far likely will need to improve if Venezuela hopes to advance in this tournament.

After facing Panama later today, Venezuela will wrap up pool play tomorrow against the Dominican Republic. Assuming Venezuela finishes in the top four of its five-team group, it will compete in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. The FIBA Americas Championship is the qualifying tournament for next year's world championships in Turkey.

By Steve Yanda  |  August 28, 2009; 9:48 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

You have to love the effort that Vasquez always gives. However, I don't think he will ever be an impact NBA player. But I thought the same about Steve Blake.

Kevin

Posted by: fearturtle44 | August 28, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

And you were right

Posted by: dbrine1261 | August 28, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Disagree: Steve is an 11/5 guy for Portland. Regardless of system or team, that's impact. Not superstar, but impact. Give the man his due.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | August 28, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

info_stupidhighway,

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Posted by: Barno1 | August 28, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Denver made the playoffs 2 years ago because of one man: Steve Blake. This was pretty much universally accepted league-wide. Then he got paid for his efforts that year with a big contract in Portland.

Ernie Grunfeld's 2nd biggest mistake since he became GM of the Wizards was to let Blake go (his biggest mistake was re-signing Etan Thomas, though at the time it seemed like a smart move).

Posted by: Barno1 | August 28, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

steve blake was the starting point guard on a team that won almost 3x the number of games as the wizards last year. he'll never be physically imposing, but he is excellent at getting the job done.

if greivis picks up this year where he left off last year, he'll be as ready as anybody out there to play at the next highest level. whether he will get the chance or not, who knows. nba teams have a habit of drafting immature young guys with potential (like blatche & kwame) as projects instead of more mature players who are ready to contribute immediately. why is that?

Posted by: rm0659 | August 28, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It is interesting that from the NC team, Steve Blake is the only solid starter on an NBA team. I thinkif Wilcox had stayed he would have had a bigger impact in the Pros because he needed to work on consistency (and gues what he does not have at the pro level?).

Posted by: HughGRection | August 28, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I assume by "impact" he means not a benchwarmer. There are ~400 players in the NBA but a third of them hardly ever play. Blake gets legitimate minutes and plays an important role for his team.

Posted by: jathfort | August 28, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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