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ACC POY race could be impacted by Wednesday's Maryland-Duke contest

Tonight's matchup between No. 22 Maryland and No. 4 Duke will feature two of the top performers in the ACC this season. The Blue Devils will send forth senior guard Jon Scheyer, and the Terrapins will counter with senior guard Greivis Vasquez. Both players are considered front-runners in the conference player of the year race, and they'll have one more chance to provide voters a direct comparison during Wednesday's game.

Vasquez is tied with Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney for the ACC scoring lead in conference play (22.1 points per game) and also leads the league with 6.9 assists per game. Scheyer ranks third in the conference in scoring (18.6 points per game) and sixth in assists (4.6 per game). Vasquez is tied for third in the ACC in field goal percentage (44.4 percent), while Scheyer ranks second in steals (2 per game). Both are among the top five three-point shooters in the conference.

"Scheyer’s like an old-time guard, to me, in that he does everything in terms of handling the ball, shooting the ball, playing defense," Coach Gary Williams said Monday. "It’s not like he’s a specialist in any area, and that’s what makes him so tough is because he can do all those things and do them at a very high level for almost 40 minutes every game. Anytime you have a player like that it’s almost like having more than one player on the court, because it’s just like a guy that can play the one, two or three positions, which he can do. And that enables you to have a shorter bench if you want to because he can play so many positions, but then he has a skill at each one of those positions to be a good player."

Statistics aside, both players factor significantly into how smoothly their respective teams operate on offense. Even when he is not scoring, Vasquez often dictates how efficient Maryland runs its offense due to his passing abilities. Likewise, it is Scheyer who often orchestrates Duke's attack.

"It’s difficult," Williams said Tuesday when asked if Vasquez would be at all validated by winning ACC player of the year honors. "Duke’s the fourth-ranked team in the country. If a Scheyer or a [Duke swingman Kyle] Singler get that award, how could you say that’s wrong? Look what they’ve done for their team. I know that in terms of value to your team I think Greivis has been tremendous for us, what he’s done for our team. Player of the year, I think it’s debatable. And that’s good; that’s a good thing."

By Steve Yanda  |  March 3, 2010; 12:23 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Three things to watch: Rebounding, pressure D and guard play


First to say, Greivis gets player of the year. Without Greivis, MD will be toast. But without Scheyer, Duke will still be...well Duke.

Posted by: Havemercyplz | March 3, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

SY try to be a little less obvious next blog entry? FREDTERP

Posted by: FREDTERP44 | March 3, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"Long after the game is over and members of the media are sitting on press row writing their stories (or in our case editing our postgame package for SportsNite), the players make their way out to the floor to meet up with their family and friends. Each player is given a Papa John’s pizza for their postgame meal and usually take it with them when they leave. I’m not sure if he’s done it the entire season because I’ve only witnessed it the past two home games, but before Greivis Vasquez leaves with his family and friends, he walks over to a member of the cleaning crew and gives them his pizza. He doesn’t make a big deal about it, just walks over, hands them the pizza, exchanges a few words and shakes their hand. Say what you want about Vasquez, but I think that’s a pretty classy move. "


maybe that article has been linked before, but i thought it gave a nice look into who vasquez is when the cameras arent on him

Posted by: aubartolomei | March 3, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I also think Greivis should win ACC POY.

And no Barno, that doesn't mean I still don't stand behind my comments you like to copy/paste. I call 'em as I see 'em at the time, not based on come crystal ball homer-kool-aid-drinking-future-hopeful-prediction.

Last year what was Greivis doing other than being immature and running his mouth and leading the Terps to a sub-.500 conference record? Yeah, exactly.

I'll be the first to say Vasquez has grown up and matured a lot this year. Him also coming back was also a business decision on his part, let's make no bones about that. Last year had he left, he may not even have been drafted and right now would probably be playing in the D-League or overseas. After growing up some and playing better this year he's improved his draft stock ten-fold.

So, good for him.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Hugh, I was just pulling your leg yesterday. I'm sill out west. No Bentley's meet-up for me.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Poopy, he was slotted by most to go early to mid 2nd round last year. Some had him going late 1st round. No expert, as far as I know, had him going undrafted.

I don't disagree with you though that it was at least partly a business decision..but there's nothing wrong with that.

Go Terps

Posted by: Barno1 | March 3, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Barno, I'm also not saying there's anything wrong with Vasquez partly making it a business decision to come back.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Also, nice little bit over at The Bog on "Vasquez's Senior Night Court"

Hopefully that thread won't get hijacked either :)

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Also I meant to comment on this yesterday but forgot so here goes:

Yesterday in that Vasquez thread on The Bog there were also some quotes from Gary Williams, where he was talking to The Junkies (how I don't miss them) and bragged about having the 3rd most wins in the ACC since '04 and he said:

"We win a national championship, and that's what you're compared to. Just remember this stat, since 2004, that's the year we won the ACC tournament, we've won the third-most games in the league. But if you listen to some people around here, it's like we've been horrible. We've won the third-most games. But see, that's not good enough for you guys to have parties. I mean, the two teams that are ahead of us are two teams that are probably the top five percent in the country. But see, people don't look at it that way, that we didn't win a national championship again since 2002, that's how people look at it."

Now granted I didn't hear the context and tone of Gary's comments but to me it seems like Gary is saying that almost unfair to expect UMD to be ahead of Duke and NC, in terms of wins. Yes things could be worse and we could have the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, etc. most wins in the ACC since '04. But on the flip side we could also have the 2nd or most wins in the ACC. It almost comes off that Gary is poo-pooing those fans who want even more wins. Well you know what, I'm one of those fans. Yeah, yeah I know, that makes me such an unrealistic bad fan, blah blah blah.

What made his comments stick out to me though were they were in contrast to other comments I heard a day earlier. I was in the gym working out and Jim Rome was on (and no normally I don't watch him or listen to him and his clones) but it was the gym and no one could change the channel.

Anyways, Rome was interviewing the Pittsburgh coach. He asked the coach about that program having such high expectations. Now I know I'm not gonna get his quotes word for word but bascially the Pitt coach said he embraced fans placing very high expectations on him and his team. He welcomed it. He said his fans don't rush the court after big home wins because they EXPECT to win and there's nothing wrong with expecting/wanting greatness.

It just seems that those comments are in contrast to Gary's about how Terps fans should almost be happy that the program has the 3rd most wins in the ACC since '04 and things could be worse (even though things could be better too).

Just differing comments about 2 programs made by their coaches I found interesting and I enjoyed hearing a coach say he has no problem with his fans expecting greatness.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I won't be hijacking anymore threads today. About to leave work and make my way over to bentleys.

All- I'm guessing we'll be at the man bar, probably in one of the corners. Tho we could be downstairs too. Hugh, I don't think there will be too many mid 40s Asians in the house, I think we should be able to spot you. What time you coming?

Posted by: Barno1 | March 3, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Has the Pittsburgh coach won a national title? Has he had fans call for his dismissal/early retirement?

I don't follow Pittsburgh that closely so just asking bc I'm guessing Gary is sometimes a little defensive because of all the things he's done, he still has a few fans attacking him.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 3, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Also Barno, going back to Vasquez being a late 1st/2nd round pick, my previous comments about him maybe being in the D-league or overseas right now are based on 2nd round draft picks contracts not being guaranteed.

So had Vasquez been picked in the 2nd round there's no guarantee he'd even make a roster, and thus, might be playing somewhere other than in the NBA.

Shoot, even having a 1st round contract doesn't guarantee that either. Just ask, Hasheem Thabeet.

Hahaha, his name has hash in it.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Barno I don't really follow Pitt either but I thought it was refreshing to hear a coach say he welcomes high expectations of fans that want an elite program.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse


It kind of seems like you're reading things into Gary's statements that aren't there. He didn't say it's wrong to have high expectations. He seems to be saying that being 3rd in wins in the ACC behind Duke and Carolina doesn't make you a failure and shouldn't put you on the hot seat. I tend to agree.

Posted by: acebojangles | March 3, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Poop, I'd tend to agree with you on not making an nba roster even if you are drafted...Thabeet's a good example. However, it's much easier for 2nd round picks to make an NBA roster these days now that the league expanded from 12 roster spots to 15. (though some teams, like the Wizards, still refuse to pay for 15 players).

Posted by: Barno1 | March 3, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Ace you could be right. I said I didn't hear his context or tone on the radio interview and all I had to go on was what was posted online by the 'Stein.

While there's nothing totally wrong with what he said I would've liked to have seen him say "But you know what, there's nothing wrong with fans that want us to be 1st or 2nd in ACC wins since '04" or something along those lines.

To me it just kinda came off as him kinda poo-pooing fans that want elite program status.

But that's just how I took it, especially when I had a day earlier heard the Pitt coach say he welcomes such high expectations.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 3, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I am a fan of Duke, but was born in the DC area and live in the area so I read The Post.
If this was an MVP award then it would have to be Vasquez because of MD's success and his critical role. That it isn't does not mean that I don't think he deserves it. I think it could go to him or Delaney. I have a problem with picking Scheyer because I don't think he is the best player on Duke (Singler).
This should be a great game. I do think that Duke is tough enough to get the win. While I like Gary Williams and respect Vasquez I hope each of you feels miserable by 10:30 this evening.
Good luck.

Posted by: ianplittle35 | March 3, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I only care about two things and two things only: 1) The Terrapins WIN and DEMOLISH Puke tonight, and 2)The Terps WIN the ACC and get the Automatic to the NCAA Playoffs and try to get to Indy for the Final Four (FF being a harder accomplishment). I could careless about individual accolades now.

Posted by: ejharrisjr40 | March 3, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I didn't hear Gary's comments, but to me the most striking thing in there is this statement:

"But if you listen to some people around here, it's like we've been horrible."

I think that's the thrust of his argument. Gary has a lot more invested in this program than anyone on this board, anyone at the Comcast Center tonight, his expectations are high and he wants to win titles. At the same time, he wants to be acknowledged for the successes that the program has earned and continues to earn. Being the third best team in this league, while not the end goal, is a pretty impressive feat, given that two of the five winningest basketball schools in the country are in the conference. It's not like we're competing with Iowa and Arizona State.

This year is a perfect example of what Gary's talking about. It's the last week of the season, Carolina is down, and which program is challenging Duke for the ACC title? Not Ga Tech or Wake Forest with their outstanding recruiting classes. Not Clemson or Va Tech.

I don't think Gary is conceding an inch to Carolina or Duke, he's too competitive for that. His intensity and coaching acumen are the primary reasons that no other program in the league even approaches the level of success we've had against those schools.

Posted by: PeteinAZ | March 3, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

We can parse GW's statement until we are blue in the face, but it would have been nice to hear something like this: "It's been a bit of a struggle in the past 6 years as far as our performance in the NCAA Tournament goes. We did miss it three times and we have not made a regional. We need to do better and this year is hopefully a step in the right direction. While we have won the third most games in the ACC during those same years and that's not bad, I would like us to be right there with UNC and Duke as elite program, among the top 5-10 in the country and I don't mind that many of our fans feel the same way."

Posted by: petecard | March 3, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse


You are absolutely correct. It would be great to hear that from GW. While I have mostly been a supporter of GW, he comes off as thin-skinned and defensive on a regular basis.

On another note, I agree with your post yesterday. Tonight is the biggest game of the year for both teams, but it will pale in importance to each successive game that the Terps play in the NCAA tourney. So, enjoy the hype that surrounds the game. Not a huge deal, win or lose, compared to getting wins in the NCAA tourney.

ESPN has sent their A-team (Bilas and Erin Andrews)to Comcast instead of covering the Kansas-Kansas St game (two top-10 teams).

Posted by: larry31 | March 3, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Why would GW focus on the negative? It isn't good for the team, it isn't good for recruiting, and it isn't good for his standing with Yow. He has every right to point out his, and the team's, accomplishments.

Posted by: booger1 | March 3, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

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