Posts Tagged ‘Vasquez


Maryland ranked fifth in preseason ACC poll

So Maryland is ranked fifth in the official ACC preseason poll. Seems a little low. Duke is picked to finish first. Seems a little high.

Clemson was picked third. I would complain that this seems high, but since they’ve beaten the Terps six out the last eight times they’ve played, I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

In the same announcement, Vasquez was picked second in the running for ACC Player of the Year. Seems about right. Duke’s Kyle Singler was picked first. Seems a little high. Although I most definitely have him number one in my preseason Player Who Most Looks Like Boo Radley Award. So he’s got that going for him. I hear the trophy is carved out of soap.


Maryland Madness: A recap in pictures…that I took from my TV


As the football team gets increasingly left for dead, more and more Terp fans are turning to basketball to soothe their wounded pride.  And after Maryland Madness last weekend, the hoops season is officially underway. The men’s team isn’t getting a ton of respect in the preseason polls, but that’s OK. We’re a better team when we’re undervalued. The women’s team is full of freshmen but are expected to be relatively solid.

Based on the limited knowledge you get from Maryland Madness, both teams looked fine. I watched the coverage on TV, and here are some photographic highlights.

Freshman crop of women’s talent was introduced.
IMG_2185 Senior Emery Wallace, who is out for the season with injury, did a lengthy sideline interview anyway.  For some reason.   Good evening, Emery. 


IMG_2199Sorry, Jerome.  Nice of the team to give him a spot on the strength and conditioning staff.  He’s a kinesiology major, so this would be a nice feather in his professional cap. 


And now……the head coach of YOUR Maryland Terrapins….oh oh oh OH oh…

IMG_2213He got all teary during his speech…he really seems to expect big things this year.

Surprise! Vasquez took the mike. “You’ve all gotta support us no matter what, OK” he said. No, Vasquez. I will agree to no such thing.


Basketball schedule released, me want to talk hoops

Anyone interested in talking basketball great me too. As long as the words “Tobias Harris” don’t appear then I’m good (seriously…we’re not getting him…plus, am I the only one who thinks of Mortal Kombat when he hears the name Tobias? I’m a weird guy.)

Right, basketball. So on the heels of the college b-ball schedule release (check out Maryland’s here — note Villanova, Duke twice, and a possible showdown with Lance Stephenson’s Bearcats on Nov. 24) ESPN puts out a nice little ACC primer/preview today. I was starting to get a little agitated as I read through — no mention of the Terps anywhere! Sean Mosely was listed as the ninth out of 10 “key players” in the conference, and when we get down to the “10 Freshmen We Can’t Wait To See” section, nary a Jordan or James mention to be found! That’s bullcrap, dude. You know what freshman I can’t wait to see, ESPN? Your mama. Your big, stupid, sweatstained, bus-pass-having mama.

But then, what do I see on the righthand side but Jay Bilas’ rankings. And guess who he’s got number three? Let’s take a read:

The Terps had a very good season, but will be better with some bulk and talent inside. Greivis Vasquez is one of the best guards in the country, but his emotional play seems to get more press than his skills. Vasquez is a complete player whom I believe is underrated. Add James Padgett and Jordan Williams to returnees Dino Gregory and Jerome Burney, and Maryland is not playing shorthanded in the paint this year. And no team will outwork this bunch. The Terps should be back to Garyland’s expected standards this season.

Not bad, Jay. You know, for a Dookie. Color me placated.


I wonder if Vasquez saw the LeBron dunk

Big Dave Neal not included

Big Dave Neal not included

Sports headlines in the summer dead zone continue to be a neverending source of amusement. This week’s fake story, of course, is the thing about LeBron getting all dunked on at his own camp — OOHHHHHHHHH! DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!! No. Because, in the understandable interest of not becoming the next Devin Harris, LeBron had the tapes confiscated. No YouTubery for us. Instead, we have to settle for video of the dunker discussing the dunk in an interview like he just found a cure for syphilis. Next up on First And Ten: A MONSTER dunk…gets talked about. By Skip Bayless. Oh, and Royals-Twins highlights. Please stay with us. PLEASE!!!

Does this have anything to do with the Terps? Nah. Oh wait…yes, it does. Because Vasquez was at the camp. I bet he saw it go down. I wonder if he reacted demonstratively. Overall, it’s good to see that he’s keeping busy this summer. An invitation to the LeBron skills academy is followed by a FIBA tournament with the Venezuelan national team and puttin in plenty of work at the CP, among other things. I know there’s no offseason for these guys anymore, but after the draft camps he could have packed it in a little bit for the summer. But he’s not. I’m not exactly Vasquez Superfan Numero Uno, but I’m really glad to see that he seems so committed to the Terps and to next season. A cynic might say it’s all to improve his draft stock, but so what? In the immortal words of Owen Wilson, there’s more than one way to get to the waterfall, baby.


thank goodness for greivis

“I love him,” Williams said yesterday as he sat at the conference table in his office at Maryland.

“I love Coach,” Vasquez says often.

Mike Wise, Washington Post, 6/17/09

And I love both of those guys.

All I have to say is thank goodness for Greivis.  For all his trash talking and middle fingering, Vasquez is the heart and soul of the Terrapins, not to mention that he’s also most of their offense.  I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when Vasquez withdrew his name from the NBA Draft.  It would have been a shame for him to go undrafted and lose his eligibility, stranding the Terps without a leader and with a big hole in the back court.

In his column, Wise alluded to the fact that Vasquez will use this draft snub as motivation to run faster and jump higher.  I disagree with that assessment.  Greivis is the one guy that doesn’t have room for more motivation.  Whether you love or hate him, you can’t question this guy’s drive.  He literally willed the team into the tournament last year.

As for the reports that the Terps have given up on Lance Stephenson, I say good riddance.  I’m sure he’s as talented as everyone says he is, and I admit that I’ve written in the past that he could have been the missing link for a deep tournament run this year.  But let’s face it, the kid would have brought the circus to town.  The last time I wrote about Stephenson I hadn’t realized that he stood accused of sexual assault.  Maryland is first and foremost a respected academic institution.  Would the school want to bring in a kid that stands accused of sexual assault to be the face of the program?  No.  Leave that to the Memphises and Floridas of the world.  It seemed clear that Williams and Stephenson would have been oil and water.  No matter how talented he is, one year with Stephenson could have done more damage than good.

Like last year, the Terps will be coming into this season with front court auditions and holes in the rotation.  Unlike last year, the Terps will come into this year knowing they have a guy that can lead the team to the tournament.  If the rest of the team works as hard as Greivis does, then there’s hope they can make a legitimate run at the ACC.


One more ride on the Vaz-Tastic Voyage

So if you haven’t heard, Greivis Vasquez is coming back to the CP for his senior season. This is what I figured would happen. Vasquez can act a little bit insane in the old membrane from time to time, but with a focused and motivated Vasquez back for one last ride along with Hayes and Milbourne (and with potential superdy-duper head case Lance Stephenson apparently no longer a target for the Terps), this could be the most stable and consistent Maryland team in quite some time. They could be a contender in a diluted ACC next year.

Of course, that all comes with a big if. And here it is. Brace yourself…it will probably all come down to the bigs. And not to destroy your whole world or anything, but the sky is also blue, and the sun also rises in the east. Don’t shoot the messenger, man. Just let the reality sink in. With the craptacular Braxton Dupree fleeing for the girls’ school up the road, and Steve Goins and Jerome Burney underwhelming thus far, two freshmen could be expected to carry the load down low.

But these problems, they are for another day. Who wants another round of offseason cockeyed optimism?!?!? FINAL FOUR, BABY! Let’s do another one to Vasquez!


A Cinco de Mayo Vasquez update from the Dos Equis guy

most_interesting_manAyyy. Muy bien. Buenos dias, and a very, very happy Cinco de Mayo to you. Full of felicidades, senor. Y cervezas! Ay.

As you know, I do no drink much beer. Not like you, who must drink to forget about your trabajo and about the women of more attractive men. So I beg you, you must drink Dos Equis, my friend. No this Corona. Corona es como orina for caballeros.  So drink Dos Equis.   It is at your supermercado.  Just go.

Si. On this the beautiful day of Mejico’s independencia, or whatever it is, I want to give to you this Spanglish update on the localidad of senor Grevis Vasquez. We know he is testing las aguas de la NBA.  He has until June 15 to decide to stay or to return.  But ah!  What does he feel in his corazon? Only a man like myself can see for sure.

It is no the same team he left, that is for certain. Braxton Dupree, Steve Goins, y Grande Dave Neal son terminados with the Terps. And now perhaps Jerome Burney will leave too? Ay, it is a problema with his foot that makes Jerome go. Very sad. I weep many tears for him.  I give besos of sadness to his feets.  For if he leaves, it is not for lack of passion. It is not like Braxton, el cabron.  Donde esta his passion?  I spit on him! PTOO!

And now my keyboard is sticky.  Aye, diablos de mi boca.  Que mala suerte.

So these four men, they go. Jordan Williams, and James Padgett — Los Infantes — they come.  That gives extra scholarships, senor. Maybe we sign juco players. I guess we will be see, as we see with all things. Like we see who does the killings of the young girls of the maquiladoras of Santa Teresa. Creo que es la policia.

But that is another matter for another day, my friend. Vasquez has said, he desires un championship. But then, he also say, he must earn los dollares for his familia en Venezuela. Una dilemma, for sure. But I tell you this…I tell you right now….he will come back.   Bet your fishing boat, your car — your CASA — that it is true. 

Because if he stays in, he will no be drafted. Have you heard about what he has done at the pre-draft camps? No? There is a reason for that, senorita. Un razon. He is not playing in the camps. He did not play in the Portsmouth Invitational.  Si, there are others coming, but the Portsmouth, that is a big one my friend.  Did he think he was too grande for Portsmouth? Es posible. But many mock drafts — like this one, and this one — do not see him being drafted. Garet Siler of Augusta State, si. Vladimir Dasic of Montenegro, si. Greivis Vasquez of Maryland, no. So why he does no go to Portsmouth, when he needs the ayuda for his draft posicion?  This question, even I cannot answer.

There is good glimmers for his NBA, as well.  But even it comes also with bad glimmers, amigo. This mock draft has him being drafted late second round to los Celticos. But on the same Web site, they cruelly mock him, saying here that “he doesn’t show many of the key elements NBA teams look for in a backup point guard—mainly the ability to limit turnovers, play solid defense and make shots efficiently from the perimeter.”  That is no good, senor.

So he has low draft prospects, he missed a grande pre-draft camp, and he has no hired an agent. Plus his Terps — his beloved Tortugas, the manzana de his ojos — might be better with las grandes nuevas, but will still need his guard play mucho. Starting cinco 2009: Eric Hayes. Landon Milbourne. James Padgett. Jordan Williams. Y the one, the only, Greivis Vasquez. Mark it down. Muy bien. I bet my house. Felicidades de Cinco de Mayo. And stay thirsty, my friend.

And for now, let us watch.  Greivis, on this Cinco de Mayo, you have the floor.

(Update: So Portsmouth is for seniors only evidently. Ay, lo siento. I still hear no stories of him lighting it up. He will come back, my friends. Stay thirsty.)


Beeramids and chicken salad: The Maryland basketball 2008-2009 year in review

Here’s a funny story. I was at a friend’s house in Baltimore County over the weekend, a few hours before the Memphis game, and there was another guy there who was wearing a Maryland sweatshirt. We had the following exchange:

— Guy: Terps playing today?
— Me: Yes.
— Guy: But wait a second. I thought you could only lose once.
— Me: Yeah, that’s right. Maryland won their first game.
— Guy: Naw, man. They lost to Duke, remember?
— Me: That was the ACC tournament.
— Guy: Huh.
(Guy pauses for a few seconds)
— Guy: The ACC tournament, though, is the big one.
— Me:  Well.  How do you mean?
— Guy: That one’s got Duke AND North Carolina in it. So that’s the biggest tournament.
— Me: Well, this one has both those teams in it, too. And it’s for the national championship. The ACC tournament is only for the ACC championship.
— Guy: So then, the ACC one is more important, right?
— Me: (Looking around for ejector seat button)

That’s really not appropos of anything, except maybe a reminder that some fans, probably including me, just take all this way too seriously. There’s always the guy out there who just likes to wear the sweatshirts. So good for you, Guy.  If you’re reading…’re not reading.

Anyway, so as you may be aware here a full four days after the fact, the Terps did lose to Memphis 89-70 in the second round of what is, in my humble opinion, the most important of the college basketball tournaments. So now, it is only natural to ponder the season that was. Allow me to stroke my chin ponderously while gazing at an indeterminant point on the wall of my office.

Here’s my bottom line on the season: the 2008-2009 Terps made chicken salad out of some serious chicken shit. Really, think about all the chicken shit that got shoveled their way this season — bad losses, more bad losses, one historically bad loss, one Washington Post expose on their coach, a steady torrent of recruiting questions, and a public catfight with the athletic department. Oh, and let’s not forget the walking triple-double-slash-smackdown-episode-slash-reporter’s-wet-dream that is Mister Greivis Vasquez.

When it’s all listed out like that, you can see how much chicken shit it really is. That’s enough chicken shit to warm your house for seven winters. But that’s what makes this season so great. Gary circled the wagons, dug the bunker, and whatever other cliche you want to use to get them into his patented underdog mentality. It wasn’t what I would call a magnificent stretch run, but they slew just enough giants to reach the tournament and the 20-win plateau, and even won a game in the postseason.

But at the same time, I feel like we weren’t far away from eating a bunch of chicken shit sandwiches. If we could go back in a time machine and redo this season 10 more times, they probably would miss the tournament seven or eight of the times. And that is discomfiting.  I am discomfitted by that.  It’s like back in college when you finally get that Beeramid to stand on its own in all its magnifience, but it’s two in the morning, and everyone’s all hammered and stumbly wumbly, and that is one shaky Beeramid, so everyone just snaps a quick cellphone picture and slowly backs away before it all comes tumbling down.

But you know what?  That’s okay, to a point.  Drama is part of the fun of sports.  But on the other hand, I think we can stand to take another look at the Beeramid in the sober light of the morning. I think that bad boy could use a little buttressing. Some fair questions need to be asked. One of those questions is about the questions themselves. When did being a fan and being a critic become mutually exclusive? I’m tired of anyone who questions or criticizes the Terps getting torn down for not being “a true fan,” or being “a Gary hater,” or having some kind of hidden agenda, as if there’s a bunch of archvillains out there who went through four years of journalism school just so they could finally have their chance at tearing down the University of Maryland basketball team. Come on. The Terps have to address their recruiting problems. If they get tired of hearing that, they should do something to address the issue…and the good news is, it seems like maybe they are, so that’s good. And sorry all you lockstep Gary jingoists, but his coaching has been uneven these past few years.  It just has.  Please consult the records.  Players have come and gone, but the roller coaster ride continues. Wild underachievement, followed by wild overachievement, lather, rinse, repeat. His teams often seem too high-strung, especially in crunch time. Lately, he hasn’t always gotten the most out of his players, especially the bigger guys (Caner-Medley, Garrison, Holden, Gist, Ibekwe, Osby, Bowers, Mardesich, Fofana, Dupree, Burney). He’s a great in-game coach, especially against the Carolinas of the world, but where is that great in-game coaching against the Morgan States and Clemsons of the world? How good is it in March if you can’t also bring it in January? How good are your motivational skills if your team’s back has to apparently be against the wall in order for your messages to be effective?

These are all fair questions. And just to be clear, I love Gary. He’s my coach. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. But you know what? It’s fair to ask these questions of a program and coach that want so badly to be considered among the sport’s perennial elite. With high achievement comes high expectations and high standards. I don’t think people should object to fair questions like these. That said, I really liked what East Coast Bias had to say about Gary recently. Gary is Maryland and Maryland is Gary. When he pumps his fist toward the student section, that is nothing but good, old-fashioned solidarity. It’s downright freaking inspiring. It’s the effortless leadership that shows through in the way he coaxed and prodded this group to a successful season. Imagine what can be done if the team is suddenly willing and able to apply his lessons consistently.

Next season could be big. It looks like vaunted recruit Lance Stephenson is leaning toward Kansas, but they’ve still got bigs Jordan Williams and James Padgett all saddled up and ready to (hopefully) ride to the rescue in the frontcourt. Vasquez is testing the NBA waters, but honestly my gut says he’ll be back. Hayes and Milbourne will be senior leaders. Bowie, Mosely, Tucker, Burney, Goins and, of course, the intriguing Jin Soon Kim will all be a year older. Suddenly, a fairly young and shallow squad could be fairly experienced and deep. If we can put it all together, we could go a long way.

It just sucks that I have to wait seven months to see. In the meantime, I’ll savor this basketball season for a while. Questions abound, as they always do, but in the end, it was actually a pretty special year. I’ll remember this group for being scrappy and for never doing things the easy way, always insisting on snatching something from the jaws of something else. But no matter. They got it done, and congrats to them.  Pass the chicken salad.


NCAA Tournament first round: Maryland vs. Cal

Kind of a nip-and-tuck first half, but by and large a good one for Maryland. They’re leading at halftime, 34-31, although it seems like they should be leading by more.

Vasquez leads the way for the Terps with 11…no surprise there. Was it just me, or were there a lot of fouls in the first half? Nope, there were a lot of fouls in the first half…10 for Cal and 9 for Maryland.

The best thing I saw was how calm Gary and the players seemed. They were just executing a game plan…no noticeable jitters, which is a great sign. I think they realize they’re playing with house money now, to an extent.

They were clearly interested in pushing the tempo on Cal both on offense and defense, and they were successful with it. Bigs played well against what seems to be a fairly overrated Cal frontcourt. Did I actually see Dave Neal out-jump one of them for a rebound?

I didn’t realize what an itty bitty little guy Jerome Randle was. Hey sparky! He’s a smooth player, though…he juked Mosely out of his shoes on one play. Vasquez was on him at times and did a good job of using his size to bother Randle.

Dino Gregory did some good yeoman’s work on defense. If drawing a charge can ever be called pretty, he had a really pretty charge-drawing on Jorge Guitierrez at like the 4:30 mark.

Come on Terps….



With no regular player over 6′ 7″, the Maryland Terrapins beat Wake Forest 75-64 tonight to all but assure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

That was a fun sentence to type.  THEY DID IT!  MARYLAND’S GOING TO THE DANCE BABYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had my doubts, but they got it done.  It was a solid 40-minute effort and they didn’t fold under pressure.  Vasquez that crazy guy I love to hate, he came through.  As did Sean freaking Mosely (his block to force that Wake shot clock violation in the early second half was my play of the game), Big Dave Neal, Dino Gregory, Eric Hayes, everybody.  And how about that zone?  They shut down Teague and frustrated the bigs.  Great win.  Great win.  THEY’RE GOING DANCING!!!!!!

I think I’ll let the pictures take over now.  I’M GOING STREAKIIINNNNG!!!!!!!!!!!








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September 2020