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Does Vasquez belong with all-time Terps greats?

Here's a topic that tends to rile up the customers, especially after a few beers, but we bring it up anyway. Just don't wreck the joint. And remember: no smacking the bartender. I got a day job to go to after this.

OK, here goes: with Clemson coming into Comcast Center tonight and Maryland (19-7, 9-3 in the ACC) down to four regular season games remaining and a shot at a first-round bye in the conference tournament next month, let's talk about the driving force behind the Terps, the Venezuelan Volcano himself, Greivis Vasquez.

Specifically, how does he rank with the all-time greats who've played at Maryland? Do you put him up there with Len Bias and Walt Williams, John Lucas and Albert King, Joe Smith and Juan Dixon? Or does the very reading of that sentence cause you to spit your beer across the room and want to throw a bottle at my head?

Easy there, sport. I bring this up because the Shimmy Master is having another terrific season, averaging 18.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists and practically carrying the Terps offense on his back.

Last year, the senior guard became the first Terp to lead the team in points (17.5), rebounds (5.4) and assists (5.0) and was voted All-ACC second team.

So, no matter what you think of the guy's uneven play at times or his antics on the court, his numbers match up pretty well with the best who've ever played at College Park.

With the considerable help of Terrapin Times publisher Keith Cavanaugh, I weighed in on this topic last week in The Baltimore Sun, which you can read here. But now we want to know what you think.

Does he rank in the Top 10 of all-time Maryland greats? How about the Top 15? And if you were lukewarm about Vasquez a few weeks ago, has his brilliant play of late won you over?

Or does his whole act turn you off worse than warm beer?

I hope the plate-glass window is still intact when we're through.

Daily Think Special: Does Vasquez belong with all-time Terps greats?

Comments

I wish everyone would let the guy finish his career before we rank him in any way. Am I the only one who thinks there will be a big difference in his legacy if he leads the Terps to a Final Four this year vs. if he scores 4 points in a 1st round loss?

I'm not big into ranking players in strict order (too much bias, and too interchangeable a list when you get to elite levels). I prefer simple tiers. I don't think Vasquez belongs anywhere in the conversation about the elite, greatest Terps ever. The Lucas, Elmore, Dixon, Bias crowd (those are examples, not my exhausted list).

I think the real question that we should be discussing, Dean, is should Vasquez have his number hung from the rafters? That seems like the real conversation here. I have to say that while his numbers are skewed by playing on subpar teams, I still think he's probably earned his place up there.

Before seeing the numbers, I would have put him in the second group - Branch, Manning, etc...

Like Gary suggests, we need to see where he takes us this year in both the ACC Tourney and the NCAAs before making a final determination.

I am not sure you can put him into the elite of the list, unless he carries the team deep into the ACC and NCAA tourney. I do think very highly of his time in College Park. He probably fits best with the group of Steve Blake, Steve Francis, and Keith Booth. With an ACC Championship of Elite 8 appearance he could move on up as that would be a tremedous accomplishment for this team.

Not to sound mean or blunt, but this shouldn't even be a question. As I reported last week in my game recap for DC Sports Box, Gary had this to say about Vasquez being one of the top 5 players in Maryland Basketball - "Last year he led the team in points, rebounds and assists and for anybody who thinks that he doesn’t belong in the top five to seven players that have ever been here, they don’t know the game very well.”
Can't say it much better than that. You also forgot that he's the ONLY player in ACC history (and that's a lot of history with a lot of good basketball players) to have 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. That is just downright impressive. As I said, I've covered Maryland basketball and I think people who don't like Greivis' on the court antics really misunderstand the guy. He cares so much about this team and about Gary Williams, it truly is amazing. And some of those antics on the court, while they may seem unnecessary, are things that define Greivis as a person. It's what drives him. And I think that is representative of where he comes from and a lot of the people in the U.S. don't understand that. So, appreciate what's in front of you people. You'll miss it next season, especially when they hang #21 from the rafters next to Steve Blake's #25.

This year's team obviously lives and dies on what kind of game he has. But unless and until he had a decent game against Duke he's going to have a hole in his resume. Ask me again when the Terps season is over.

Personally, I think he belonds in the top 5 of 6 of all-time. He has meant so much to this program. His stats speak for themselves. A lot will be determined come tourney time. If he can help Maryland make a run, I think he will solidify his place in history.

It's a shame that he gets such a bad rap. The guy wants to win - isn't that what we are here for?

GV is a very good player but he does not rank with the best players Md has had over the years. Where does he rank in turnovers? Dumb shots? Field Goal %?

If GV was a member of some of the teams that had Dixon, Smith, Bias, King, or some of the others; we would not be having this conversation.

Again, he is good but not the caliber of former Md greats. He has benefitted by playing on inferior teams. This will prove out when the NBA draft happens this year.

Definitely top 10...how can you argue with those stats? Sure he's erratic at times, but so are all other college players. Give credit where credit is due. Vazquez deserves to have his jersey retired.

He does not crack the Top Ten unless he turns into Superman and leads the Terps deep into the tournament. What a shame that some of the great teams of the 70's and early 80's did not have the chance to perform
in the NCAA tournament before it was expanded.

You may not like his style, or his personality, but I don't see how it could be denied that during most of his time here he was a key starter, nearly always the best player on the team, and quite often carried the team on his back. These may not have been the best of times for the Terps, but not the worst either, and Vasquez is the main man. He is also a splendid reflection of his coach (for better or worse). I say he's in the top fifteen for sure.

steve francis has a jersey hanging in comcast, vasquez should be honored too.

He absolutely does. Most of the other all-time Terps had better supporting teammates. Len Bias had Adrian Branch, John Lucas and Tom McMillen had each other, Joe Smith had Keith Booth had each other, Juan Dixon had Blake & Baxter. Who's the best player Vasquez has played with in his 4 years? James Gist? Vasquez has done the heavy lifting pretty much all by himself, and his numbers are remarkable when he could be top-5 in school history in 3 different categories (points, rebounds, assists.) Anyone who doesn't agree is either a complete "hater" or doesn't know what they are talking about. I've been a MD basketball fan most of my life and he's definitely one of the top 5-7 players I've ever seen.

Vasquez is a very good player on a MD team that is not that deep. I think he'd have a hard time finding an identity on some of the MD teams headlined by Lucas, McMillian, Bias, Joe Smith, and Juan Dixon. I wonder if he'd even started for the 2001-2 team, although I think he's slightly better than Steve Blake.

He is certainly comparable to Williams, who was a great player on teams that didn't really excel, like Vasquez. Vasquez may belong with all of them, but people perceive him differently because of the talent around him.

I have been wondering about a different type of comparison, along the same lines.

How does this current Terps roster compare to the NCAA Champions of 2001-2002?

2010 vs. 2002
Vasquez Dixon
Hayes Blake
Williams Baxter
Milbourne Wilcox
Mosley Mouton
Tucker Nicholas
Gregory Holden
Padgett Randle
Bowie McCall

The style of play matches up somewhat similarly. The biggest difference is probably what Wilcox could do as a face-up "4." Milbourne is pretty much out of position in that role. The styles are otherwise similar and the '02 team was just slightly more experienced or talented.

Anyone who says "no" does not understand the game of basketball. It amazes me the amount of hate this guy gets from his own teams fans.

No I don't think does belong in the company of those players mention. And you did forget one, Buck Williams. Vasquez is about one "notch" lower.

love'em or hate'em, he's gotta be in the Top 10. without him they would be sub .500 team. he's doing things nobody in the acc, let alone MD, has ever done. also, you forgot adrian branch.

Yes, not in the top 5 but in the top 10 for sure.

Vasquez is a great player, but to get a spot in the top-tier all-time UMD greats, he needs to earn it in the postseason. An ACC tourney title or Sweet 16 run (or hopefully better!) will go a long way to winning over some of the skeptics. And even though he carries the team, he's got a decent compliment of players around him so it's not like win or lose, it's ALL on Vasquez.

How can he not be? What would our record be without him and there is your answer...

His number is going up on the rafters no doubt!

Two points I would like to make instead of wasting a good brew. First, all of the names you have listed above have one thing in common (except for the Wizard) that is having their name being associated with being a WINNER. Walt Williams should be held in much higher regard by all Terps fans even though he never played on a Sweet 16 or ACC championship team only because without him, and you can ask Gary this, the Mens B-Ball program probably struggled along for a L-O-N-G time longer than what it did after getting hit with the NCAA sanctions, if not for the Wizard. John Lucas, Lenny B, Albert King, Buck, Joe Smith, and Juan all went to at least the round of 16 or won ACC regular season or tourney championships.
Second, here is MY equivalent of Grevis from Terp athletic history.....Scott Milanovich. Scott, while a great statistical QB, never seemed to put it together enough to get those great statistics when it meant something. Passing for a gazillion yards and a million touchdowns doesn't really mean so much when you run an offense that is meant to lead to such stats and those stats usually came against the opposing teams second or third string players in second halves of blowout losses. Grevis is a heck of a player but being a heck of a player on a team whose claim to fame for the past three post-seasons is a first round victory over Cal in the NCAA's. By winning the ACC regular season title, the ACC Tournament or going into the second weekend of the NCAA's Grevis can climb onto the stage with the MD greats but he is going to have to claw his way there. Now top me off! All that talking let my brew get warm.

While I don't believe in direct comparison of players from different "eras," much less when they play different positions, and, hence, true player rankings, there is no better judge of this topic than his coach. Williams, who is not prone to hyperbole, has clearly stated, as previously mentioned within this thread, that Vasquez ranks within the top 5-7 players who have ever played at Maryland. I agree.

For those of you who think his numbers are "inflated" due to playing on an inferior team have adopted a rather dubious position. Specifically, have you even considered, if that were the case, then the Terps opponents would know that as well. As the team's leader and proverbial "straw that stirs the drink," every team playing Maryland would focus upon taking Vasquez out of the game. Taking him out of the game would then stagnate Maryland. Thus, to accept that proposition, Vasquez's numbers become even more meaningful as he's accumulated them in the face of every team game planning to stop him. As is, on those occasions when Maryland's offense stagnates, Vasquez often is the only player capable of creating his shot to put pressure on a defense...and this despite the defensive focus being directed upon him. Finally, the explanation offered that the offense "runs" through him to justify his numbers simply reflects an overwhelming lack of understanding of the Flex offense.

Likewise, if the team surrounding him has been a truly "inferior" team during his tenure, then please explain how Maryland has avoided any those recent complete season meltdowns you have seen from schools such as UNC (this year--even with 7-8 McD's AA on its current roster), Wake Forest, Ga. Tech, VA and, yes, even Duke (the year "Krys" went out for back surgery). Plainly, one of the overriding reasons centers upon Vasquez's ability and leadership. In short, the guy is a winner and more than deserves to be considered among Maryland's all-time best players. Requiring a symbolic deep run(s) in the ACC tournament and/or the NCAA's, which is certainly the true measurement of a team's--not an individual's--success to substantiate his significant contribution to Maryland's program is just sheer folly.

Dos Equis please. Look, to say you think he's not top 5 means your a hater or you don't know basketball is pure bunk. I've been following Maryland basketball since the early 70's. GV is top 10-12 right NOW. We can re-evaluate, and drink a few more cold ones, in late March/early April for all I care.

What separates the top 5? They either led teams to NCAA Championship (Dixon), ACC Regular season title (King & Williams) or ACC tourney championship (Bias) AND/OR had individual achievements that were off the chart (McMillan in only 3 years time).

I might be missing the name of one of the greats but GV has led his team to two NIT appearances and one sweet 16 appearance. Just because your a star on underachieving teams doesn't qualify you as an all-time great. He will get his jersey in the rafters because GW makes that decision but as of today, 2/24/10, he's in my top 10-12. But unlike the others, who have exhausted all eligibility, he can move up in the next month or so.

Another Dos Equis please.

Right on Rob K ! Grevious V definitely belongs in the second tier, unless he miraculously leads Terps to Final Four or even ACC crown, both highly unlikely. Amazing how Clemson laid down and died at his feet tonight- shameful performance by Tigers down the stretch.

Let's try this again for all you GV haters.At times he frustrates me more than any player I've ever watched at Maryland,but he has done something no other ACC player has ever done.EVER,do you people understand that?over 2000 points,700 assists and 600 rebounds on an inferior team where all you have to do is look at some of Maryland's losses this year,he was double nad even triple teamed.This is a way better team then they were early in the year,and could make a run in the ACC tourney and the NCAA's.So yes he definitely belongs in the top 10 to say the least.I like the mental toughness of this team.The had to play 4 games in 8 days,an won 3 of them,and then come back from 15 points down with Vasquez sick in the first half.And Clemson is not a slouch team.

Great Terp depth here..

I think he definitely belongs in the top 15..

Probably the 2nd best shooting guard after Dixon..

Maryland had so many tweeners like Wizard seemed to play both SG and SF..

I love all Terps (cept the transfers!!!!)..You can't be a real fan unless you accept them for all their warts..

Elmore
McMillan
Smith
Buck Williams

Bias (Maryland has had no other player of his ilk before or since)

Branch
Dixon
Vasquez

Lucas
Davis

I sort of group all those by "what they did"

Greg Manning, Blake maybe Johnny Rhoades looking in...I'm sure offhand I am missing a few but that just me playing around..


NO!!!!! He is extremely overrated and even though he sometimes puts up 20 plus points a game look ta his stats most of the time he is 5-14 or 6-20 but his free throws put him over the top in mop up time when UM is up and the other team is fouling. Another thing that has contributed to his stats over his career, is there has been no other real good scorer on the team in the past four years, no inside or outside scoring threat til Jordan Williams and MIlbourne finally doing some inside scoring this year. Vasquez is a pure ball hawk and is a turnover machine. I truely feel bad for John Lucas and Adrian Branchly who he has now past on the all time scoring list as he is no where near the caliber of player they were. And the record he set as being the obly ACC player ever to have 1,000pts, 600 assist and 500 rebounds or something like that is a disgrace to the great players of the ACC past and to the league. I will be glad when Vasquez goes this year and Maryland is finally done with him.

You all have such short memories! I have been watching almost every MD game since Lefty came to MD and I can talk about all of the great MD players from experience. They have ALL had many games that the fans criticized!! ALL of them. And whenever the team went to the sweet 16 or beyond, MD had a bevy of outstanding front line players, usually 3-4 deep. This was most true for our national champ team. But what has GV had to work with for the past four years. Nadda till Williams showed up. The only reason that we had trouble with Duke this year is because of all their front line players 6-10 and over. We don't have the bigs to compete with them. Hence, all you ney-sayers lay the fault on GV and say that he belongs in the second or third tier of MD's best. Wake up. He is the BEST all-around point guard EVER to play at MD! Yes you can name a player with more points, more assists, more rebounds, and fewer turnovers. But name ONE player (in the ACC or NCAA) that has EVER had 2000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds. I only need one finger!!

Absolutely Vasquez is one of the all time Terp greats. We are fortunate he stayed for 4 years. Production-wise he is one of the best ever. What I have enjoyed the most however is his effort, attitude and entertaining style.

I've watched Maryland baskeball games going back to 1972. It's difficult to compare players across different era's. But I made a list of what I feel are the top tier players, and then a separate list of second tier players. Greivis is on my second tier list. My top tier (in no particular order): McMillen, Elmore, Lucas, Bias, Buck Williams, Albert King, Joe Smith, Manning, Booth, Steve Sheppard, Walt Williams, Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter, and Steve Blake. My second tier: Mo Howard, Ernie Grahmn, Keith Gatlin, Brad Davis, Jeff Adkins, Ben Coleman, Derrick Lewis, Tony Massenburg, Byron Mouton, Chris Wilcox, Ekene Ibekwe, and Greivis.

he ranks high. not as good as elmore, mcmillen, lucas, king, buck williams, bias, joe smith, but in the same group as brad davis, branch, dixon, shue, manning.

I don't quite understand the assertion that Vasquez has somehow benefitted from playing with inferior talent surrounding him. He hasn't played AGAINST inferior talent so in just about every game he is the focus of the opposing defense. If he doesn't score well in a game he racks up double digit asssits, and his defense is impeccable. His game has improved every year, and he makes the players around him better. I think he already belongs in the top 5 or 6. With a deep runs in the ACC and NCAA touraments he can pass Len Bias to become the second all-time leading scorer for Maryland. ...and if all of these things aren't enough.... the Duke fans hate him more than any other Maryland player... that's enough for me! :)

I'm not sure some of the folks, like me, are saying he is not one of the all-time greats, just that he does not belong in the top tier, that's all. The comment of who he played with doesn't mean as much as who he's played against. The ACC the last 3+ years, aside from UNC the prior two years, did not have the depth the other era's had. GV also had the benefit of playing against Miami, BC and FSU. FSU didn't join the ACC until the 1990's so the early Terp stars didn't have them. That is six games against usually inferior talent. Can you imagine how many more points King Albert would have scored if he played 6 more games vs that group? How about Bias?

Simply put, GV IS one of the all-time greats but before he goes into the top 5-7, he needs to step up and lead a team into the elite eight. If he does that, he will turn a lot of haters into lovers.

Wow, good discussion today. I don't see how you can look at the total history of Vasquez at Maryland and not put him as one of the top15 players, already. If this team goes on to win the ACC tournament and ties for the regular season title, then goes to the Sweet 16 or beyond it will seem more clear. But this team has so little margin for error that they are also capable of losing their last three regular season games and going one and out in both the ACC and NCAA tourneys. I just don't think that will happen, in part because of Vasquez and his ability to put the team on his back if necessary.

I'm not sure he's in my top 5, but is probably in the top 10 now. One of the things complicating the discussion, aside from his personality, is that his game is unlike anyone they have had in the past, with Walt Williams probably being the closest. He's not a traditional point guard in his style of play but he does have the ability to get the ball to his teammates.

And lastly, he's in the discussion because he stayed at MD for four years. If he had not stayed for his senior season we wouldn't be having this discussion. He has drastically reduced his turnovers and his SPQ (Stupid Play Quotient) from his first two years, and this year's team is better because of it. Joe Smith gets hurt in the discussion because he only played two years. I don't even count Francis. Unfortunately I missed most of the Albert King - Buck Williams era from being out of the area. But in my mind Grevious has put his stamp on Maryland basketball the past four years and amassed an impressive body of work overall.

First of all GV is definately top 10. Teams key on him and he still makes plays. Its got to harder for a guy with less of a supporting cast to put up his kind of numbers night after night. Teams know he wants the ball and he still leaves them in his wake. The guy loves the game . What a boring game it would be if no one showed any emmotion. This team might night have the bling to show us like the 2002 team but they sure to have the same fire and heart that the 2002 team had. You can't help but love to watch these guys and to see the improvement as the year has gone by. Gary for President

Vasquez belongs in the argument. His statistics are a first for any player to ever suit up in the ACC.

The fact that the Terps live and die with his performance only fuels the discussion, but he's definitely one of the Terps all-time great players. Here's my list of top Terps:

John Lucas
Len Elmore
Tom McMillan
Juan Dixon
Len Bias
Buck Williams
Albert King
Steve Blake
Keith Booth
Johnny Rhodes
Greg Manning
Walt Williams
Brad Davis
Lonnie Baxter
Joe Smith
and....Greivis Vasquez.

JMO

No doubt, one of the best Terps ever. I have been following them since 70s. For those that argue he scores a lot because of the less talented team he is on, do you have any idea how oponents plan for the Terps. Items #1, 2 & 3 are "Stop Vasquez". And as for the poor shot selection, with the team he has been playing on what do you want him to do? Let the 35-second clock expire, or force something up? Notice how he has cut down on those desperation shots since the team has improved? Even without the big tourney wins, this guy is a winner. A top ten Terp? Absolutely

Very interesting discussion. I've followed Maryland since the days of McMillon, Lucas and Elmore. Bias is the greatest player ever here. Before this year I would have put GV in the second tier of many great players with the starting 5 on the NCAA championship team being in the top tier because of how much each one of them contributed to their success. Before this year GV had some great numbers but wasn't IMHO a player who consistently tried to involve others in the games. And there have been some other talented players on the court with him.

This year he's different. Even though his numbers are still high he IS looking to involve other players and it's paying off. So, he's moving toward the top echelon. Let's see if he continues his play when crunch time comes.

One final point . GV isn't a selfish player-never has been while at Maryland. His problem in the past has been in he gets so hype up he can't control his desire to take over a game and win, rsulting more often than not with making poor moves that result in turnovers and other missed opportunities. He has so far thei year conquered that probles.

Now that Md has beaten Duke for 1st place in the ACC. Does that persuade the naysayers and haters, that Vasquez deserves recognition for his career?

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