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Maryland basketball legends chime in on Vasquez: Dixon

Maryland doesn't practice until later today, so in the meantime I'm going to publish a series of posts this morning with thoughts from some former Terrapins on senior guard Greivis Vasquez, who has been discussed in recent weeks as possibly being one of the greats to ever wear a Maryland uniform.

We'll start with Juan Dixon, who set the career Maryland scoring record en route to leading the Terrapins to a national title in 2002. Dixon spent the past few weeks practicing with the team since returning from Europe, and I caught up with him March 5, the day before the Terrapins played at Virginia in the regular season finale. Here's what he had to say ...

On what Vasquez has accomplished in his career: "I think he's a great basketball player. He's accomplished a lot. He's put a lot of points on the board, and I look at Greivis as a basketball player. I wouldn't put him at a certain position, because he's good enough to play the one. He could run a team. He's big enough to play the two. He has great size at the one. He's an underrated passer. But I think Greivis has accomplished a lot here. People saying that he's coming close to breaking scoring records, but people don't like to give him a lot of credit because he didn't win a lot of basketball games. But anybody can't score 2,000 points. If that's the case, then everybody that came through Maryland would have accomplished that, so I give him a lot of credit."

On what it takes to reach the 2,000-point plateau: "A lot of hard work; a lot of confidence. And it ain't easy playing for Coach Williams, you know, because he's going to dish it out and you've got to be able to take it and move on and listen to what he have to say. But I give it up to Greivis. He has a ticker. He's out there and he's chatting it up to the crowd and to the opposing team. He's not afraid. He's not afraid to take shots. He's not afraid to make plays. Just the other day I watched him play against Virginia Tech. He took 33 shots. You know, I'm talking with Coach Williams during practice the other day, and I'm like, 'Damn, whoever took 33 shots in your system?' But Coach has adjusted to his personnel. He's adjusted to his player. That's a credit to Coach Williams and his staff. But Greivis took advantage of it, and he's making a name for himself."

On Williams's reaction when Dixon made the comment about Vasquez's 33 shots against Virginia Tech: "He just laughed. He changed his system. He tweaked his system a little bit. He added some options out of his flex offense, some pretty good options, and I think Greivis has benefitted from it. And I think that made him a much better basketball player. And most importantly, just watching that game the other day against Duke, Greivis makes his teammates better too. He makes the whole team a lot better. His attitude and his confidence rubs off on the rest of the players."

On whether anyone has discussed with him the possibility of Vasquez surpassing him as Maryland's all-time scoring leader: "People are telling me. But the team would have to win a lot of games, of course. I hope they do. And if he breaks the record, it shows you how great of a college basketball player he was. It's not easy. And going into each year, I didn't look at the record like, 'I want to break Len Bias's record.' It just happened. I was patient. I worked hard. And Greivis has done the same thing. He has a shot at breaking the record."

On what it felt like when he surpassed Bias on the Maryland scoring list in 2002: "I didn't really feel it until after the season because we were in NCAA play. I think I broke it the second round of the NCAA tournament my senior year. I was caught up in the moment. I didn't really think about it. But during the banquet when they honored me with the most points in Maryland history, it really hit me then."

On where Vasquez ranks among the greatest players ever to play at Maryland: "For him to be mentioned in that conversation, I'm sure he's honored, but he still needs to go out and win basketball games. I couldn't even tell you. That's not even my call. I know he'll go down as one of the great players that came through this school."

By Steve Yanda  |  March 18, 2010; 8:01 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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