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Vasquez still searching for his shot

There was a brief moment during Maryland's win last night over Fairfield when it appeared that maybe, just maybe, senior guard Greivis Vasquez had found his mojo. With just more than 14 minutes remaining in the second half, Vasquez sank a three-pointer from the wing (just his second made basket of the game), turned and nodded to the crowd. There was no wiggle, no fist pump, no guttural yell. But the confidence Vasquez's body language seems to eternally project makes you think one sound shot is all it would take to solve his offensive woes.

That, however, did not prove to be the case Tuesday night. Vasquez shot 3 of 11 from the field and tallied seven points against Fairfield. That came on the heels of an opening-night performance Friday against Charleston Southern when he shot 3 of 14 from the field and totaled nine points. Through two games, he has shot 24 percent.

"I just got to be patient," Vasquez said. "I can't really put that much pressure on myself. We're still winning by 20-some points and maybe I got to let it come to me a little more; I can't try to force it."

This, of course, always has been one of the harshest criticisms thrown in Vasquez's direction -- that he tries to do too much, asserting his will at times to the detriment of his team. In Maryland's first two games Vasquez has taken an array of off-balanced, heavily contested and rushed shots.

To this point, though, it would not be fair or accurate at all to say Vasquez's shooting woes have hampered the Terrapins' ability to succeed offensively. That likely is due in large part to the level of competition Maryland has faced so far. Still, Vasquez tallied 13 assists Friday against Charleston Southern and six assists against Fairfield.

Vasquez has spent the opening minutes of each game testing out his shot to see if it would befriend him on that night. Upon realizing it would not, Vasquez eventually moved on to involve himself in other aspects of the offense.

After making one of the four shots he attempted in the first 5 minutes 6 seconds of last night's game, Vasquez -- either by his own volition or at the behest of Coach Gary Williams -- eased up on the trigger. He took three shots the rest of the half (all misses) and four shots the entire second half (2 for 4). With roughly 23 seconds remaining in the first half, Vasquez passed up a wide open three-point attempt. Such an instance surely had occurred before, but no one in the media section immediately could recall it.

"He's getting his looks," Williams said. "You know, he's a marked man. There's no doubt about it. He's gotten enough publicity over the summer and everything and where he's been picked in preseason all-American teams, and players get excited. I would if I was playing against him; I'd get up for him. So he's got to handle that. That's what this part of the season is for, to learn how you can still be really good."

In addition to his six assists, Vasquez tallied three rebounds, two steals and a block against Fairfield. He also recorded four turnovers.

"It's hard, you know?" Vasquez said. "You got a lot of things going on for yourself and then you're not doing good. But my teammates are doing a great job helping me out, and I'm just really happy that with me playing okay, we're still beating teams pretty good. I didn't have my best game, but it really didn't matter at all because everybody else played well. All my teammates are really doing a good job supporting me. That's the big difference between last year's team and this year's team."

Indeed, fellow seniors Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes each turned in impressive performances, and Maryland's defense stifled Fairfield in the second half. The Stags shot 19.2 percent after the intermission and 28.6 percent on the night.

Maryland, on the other hand, shot 43.1 percent for the game, and Williams believed Vasquez played a key role in putting his teammates in good position to score. Until Vasquez rediscovers his shot, that's the sort of production the Terrapins will need out of him.

"Some of the passes he made tonight were just incredible, and it makes us tough to cover," Williams said. "So once that shot starts to go in, he's fine. I'd rather him miss now than miss later."

By Steve Yanda  |  November 18, 2009; 9:04 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Look Vasquez has read all of the hype that he's an All-American player, but really he's an alright player at best.

Posted by: ENJOYA | November 18, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Just got back from the game. The roster is once again stocked, but painfully, for the 4th year in a row, Greivis Vasquez is selfishly using UMD for an NBA tryout – according to the scouts, a league he has absolutely no chance to make.

As long as Greivis Vasquez is convinced that he is even 50% as good as he thinks, and remains the self-proclaimed leader of this “team”, they are going nowhere. Why is it that the pro scouts and most fans are the only ones who realize that Vasquez is a mediocre athlete and therefore little potential? It is truly unfathomable that a coach as great as GW has somehow been deceived by this kid for four years now. GW and several announcers always say that he is a good leader and brings a lot of energy! Since when does leadership equate to taking the most shots, making the most turnovers, and talking the most sh*# to the crowd/opposing players? And since when did GW’s teams ever lack energy?

Listen, if Vasquez wasn't the worst defender on the team, we would be willing to cut him some a lot of slack for all of the above. But for the 4th year in a row, Vasquez is not moving his feet on defense and is desperately reaching as opponents cut right by him into the lane.

Get ready for the 4th (but thankfully) final wasted season at the hands of Greivis “look at me” Vasquez.

Posted by: tomfoley1 | November 18, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I have been saying it since he was a Freshman... going to montrose Christian got him a scholarship, period! bench players there get free rides... he has got hustle and fire, I will give him that but the NBA is leaps and bounds for what he is ready for. hell, Freaking JJ Reddick, one the greatest shooters in college basketball is a role/bench player in the NBA. I think he is practicing for his role in the NBA next year... Point Guard. True points in the NBA need to be patient and be able to handle the rock and dish it.

Posted by: rvanags | November 18, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tomfoley, it seem as if you are completely clueless about everything you said. I don't really even know where to start with your post.

Last seaseon Vasquez was the only player from a BCS school to lead his team in points, assists, and rebounds and only the sixth in ACC history. On a team undermined with talent and an unathletic 6'6" center, he carried the team on his back into the tourney because he HAD to on the most overacheiving Maryland team in recent memory. Without him last year and no reliable scorers how many ACC games do we win? I think somewhere around 2. No joke.

Also, no chance at the NBA? Most scouts have him projected as a second round pick and I assume they know more than you. No, he's not the most athletic guy but definately has great size for a point guard at 6'6" and sees the floor as well as anybody. He came back to try and improve his shot for the chance to crack the first round. Hopefully it starts to come around soon. It will eventually.

Furthermore, Greivis has nothing but great things to say about the University and Gary and repeats it constantly. He is a joy to watch and god forbid he has some fun out there while he plays.

Tomfoley you are a clown.

Posted by: elowe2 | November 18, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

tomfoley1 seems to have forgotten how he almost single-handedly won games for us and lead the Terps to the NCAA tournament last year. tomfoley1 also thinks he knows more about basketball than Gary Williams, the legendary Stu Vetter of Montrose Christian, and all of the ACC coaches who put him on the 2nd team All-ACC squad.
tomfoley1 also forgot that Vazquez led the team in points, assists, and rebounds last year.

Now I'm no Vazquez fanboy, but I've watched enough of him over the past 4 years to know that he's been the best guard on the team every single year since he arrived.

Posted by: JMSinCHeights | November 18, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

You folks criticizing Vasquez are insane. Seriously, insane. The kid has 13 assists in the first game, for crying out loud. He is the best player on the team and the best guard in the league when he is playing well. Perhaps with a little support from us, he will get back on track. He loves Maryland, loves Gary, and only wants a little fan support. You people give Maryland fans a bad name. Part of me thinks you are really Georgetown fans on here just trying to stir up stuff. tomfoley1 or tomfoolery?

Posted by: nmprisons | November 18, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Without a doubt, Greivis Vasquez is the most talented player on the Maryland roster. That being said, I couldn't help but notice late in the first half of the game last night, that Maryland is a much better TEAM without him in the lineup. When he was on the bench, ball movement improved, so did shot selection.

When he is on the floor, he often becomes too selfish and fails to see others around him. Everyone else seems to stand around waiting to see what Greivis is going to do.

He has always played better when he was at the two guard and looked to pass first.

Posted by: jimbo561 | November 18, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"When he is on the floor, he often becomes too selfish and fails to see others around him. Everyone else seems to stand around waiting to see what Greivis is going to do."

Really, did you catch his 13 assists in game 1? Have you noticed that he's curretnly on pace to finish second in school history in assists behind Steve Blake?

Your argument may sound correct based on a sample size of just last night. However, once MD starts playing real teams, they cannot afford for him to not be in the linup and running the offense. This offense only goes when Vas goes and is dishing the rock. You may remember the game against Duke last year at home when Vas got into foul trouble and just how painfully stagnant the offense became.

I cannot understand and will never understand the Vasquez hate. It's pretty sad.

Hey Yanda or Prisbell, how about a positive piece at least once in awhile? The Terps are back in the rankings and the freshman bigs so far are exceeding expectations. How about doing something with that?

Posted by: elowe2 | November 18, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

tomfoley1

Both Mark Jackson and Eric Snow were not great shooters, great ball handlers nor did Jackson ever make an all defensive team during his long NBA career. But if you are 6'5 can dish the rock, rebound and make a few jumpers and free throws, if picked by the right team you can have an NBA career. I think you got a little too much hate for Vasquez. He isn't the best or worst player to ever be considered for the NBA. And yes, he had some bad games last year but he also carried a UM team to the NCAA with limited talent. He is a kid playing basketball and trying to make himself better for a possible pro career, not some public servant who has taken oath to solve problems in his community. Stop hating on him as if he is responsible for making you happy. Put down the haterade.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 18, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Maryland has played no one so far this season.....no one which makes his comment "we're still beating teams pretty good" meaningless. I give this kid credit for his effort, but he's all over the map as a pro prospect.

Btw, 2nd round picks in the NBA draft aren't a guarantee that the guy even makes the team.

He has potential to be a pro, but I would say an overseas team pro at best.

Posted by: jdumb | November 18, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

elowe2
I cannot understand and will never understand the Vasquez hate. It's pretty sad.

You know, once something is out there people take it and run with it. Before internet blogs it wasnt soo much hate. Fans like their teams and the players that played on them. People on blogs tend to hate as a way of getting attention. They like to go against the grain and hating is usually the easiest way to do that and get attention. These sports writers know that so they write articles that invite negativity and hate into the forum as a way of getting more readers. Until it all becomes just a venting space for insecure whiners and complainers who dont get listen to otherwise.

Posted by: ged0386 | November 18, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Im glad a few her backed up GV...he may not be len bias but he is a good pplayer who has done a lot for umd....why so many locals trash him is totally beyond me.

tomfoley please leave your mothers basement once in a while and play pickup against a decent 12 year old. when you lose you will realize you are also a hypocrite.

Posted by: smc635 | November 18, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez's points will come, and his shooting percentage will be well into the 40s a few games from now. Let the critics attack him, it only gives him more fire.

As for the "we haven't played anybody so the 30 point wins are meaningless" comment, I seem to recall losing AT HOME to American University, Morgan State, Virginia Commonwealth, Ohio University, and BARELY beating Hampton, Northeastern, Vermont all in just the last 2 years. Beating mid majors handily is not meaningless, not when we've struggled against them in recent years.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 18, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

His comment was meaningless in comparison to his crappy shooting. Whether or not UMD has been beating mid majors lately has nothing to do with the fact that UMD should be beating these teams handily. They're in the ACC for christ sake and are expected to win those games.

Posted by: jdumb | November 18, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

They're in the ACC for christ sake and are expected to win those games.

Posted by: jdumb | November 18, 2009 3:48 PM

Expected to win? Yes. Expected to blow out? Not necessarily. We demolished the point spread last night.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez's two cruddy shooting nights = MD's two slow starts.

It's not a 1 to 1 match, but I think he played a large part of the slow starts due to his missing shots in an attempt to see if he "has it" that night (which he has commented on before publicly).

Hopefully he starts making shots.

He'll go no worse than the middle of the 2nd round. I don't really care about the NBA, but some have been saying this year compared to last is a weaker class for guards, so his waiting a year was very smart.

I don't think, as of now, he has what it takes to be a good NBA point guard. But I bet he can hang around for at least 3 years. He might do better going to Europe and being a 2, hard to tell.

He just seems like he's pressing, trying to do too much, etc. Hopefully he's seeing his teammates pick up his slack, and is growing more confident of their abilities to score and win games. Which should equate to him pressing less.

Posted by: ckstevenson | November 18, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

He's rated #66 on the mock draft board I look at which leaves him out of the draft unless he can greatly improve his standing.

Point spreads? Good lord.

Posted by: jdumb | November 18, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

He's rated #66 on the mock draft board I look at which leaves him out of the draft

Posted by: jdumb | November 18, 2009 8:45 PM

Lies! First off, I have yet to find a single mock draft that ranks players after #60 (the last pick of 2nd round). Secondly, I have yet to find a single mock draft that ranks Vasquez higher than 38th. JDumb, take your lies elsewhere.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 19, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

www.walterfootball.com/nbadraft2010mock.php
Vasquez ranked 27th

www.nbadraftdepot.com/2009/03/2010-nba-mock-draft.html
Vasquez ranked 31st

www.draftsite.com/nba/2010mock.htm
Vasquez ranked 27th

www.thehoopsreport.com/draft.aspx
Vasquez ranked 35th

www.nbadraft.net/2010mock_draft
Vasquez ranked 38th

Posted by: Barno1 | November 19, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't have an ESPN Insider subscription so don't know what ESPN has him projected, but found this story by ESPN Senior College Basketball Analyst Andy Katz calling Vasquez a possible "1st round pick" as of LAST year.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 19, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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