It has often been said in the media that next season Gary Williams will finally have a true point guard again in frosh Eric Hayes. Hopefully that will be the case but no other member of the 2006 class has the greater potential to make Maryland better from the start than 6'5" guard Greivis Vasquez. Vasquez is one of those players that recruiting services have differing opinions on: some think he is a merely decent recruit and others think he is a borderline top 100 caliber player. In my opinion there are not 50 high school players who have more potential to contribute and compete well at the high major level right away than Vasquez.
Fellow classmates PG Eric Hayes and SF Landon Milbourne are held in higher regard by most recruiting services but have less potential to be immediate contributors than Vasquez. My opinion about Vasquez is based off my impressions from game tape in Vasquez's senior season at Montrose Christian. If you think I may be overhyping the kid slightly then I would point out that Gary Williams himself so liked Vasquez that he got personally involved in the recruitment of Vasquez early last spring. Regardless of your feelings about Williams' recruiting style it shows how highly the coach thought of him. While scouting 2005 recruit Uche Echefu the coach noticed Vasquez and decided to put full effort to land the Venezuelan. It came down to the Terps or Virginia Tech with the Maryland clearly the superior program.
Here is some of what has me excited about Vasquez.
Offense: Vaz can legitimately play any perimeter position. He has the ball handling skills to play point guard with effectiveness. He has excellent court vision and handles traps and full court pressure like a seasoned player. Vaz is a good shooter with solid form and elevation on his shot. His length will help him shoot over shorter players at the point guard and shooting guard positions. He is capable of doing damage from beyond the arch but he is most dangerous distributing the ball in the context of an offense. It is no mistake that Kevin Durant looked great playing with Vaz because he is the kind of player that will make his teammates better. While he doesn't possess great quickness he is good at using his body to shield smaller defenders and drive to the basket. His game right now isn't all that different from Chris McCray's, though he is more polished than McCray was in high school. He also has a decent nose for offensive rebounds. Vasquez has the potential to be more than the role player that McCray was for most of his career.
Defense: Vaz's long arms and length will help him defend at any position on the perimeter. He may struggle with smaller and quicker opponents as any 6'5" guard might, but he has the ability to be physical and wear those smaller guards down on either end of the floor. He showed the basic capability to defend smaller and quicker guards. Though he needs to add muscle, he is a good defensive rebounder. Despite his slender frame he seems willing to mix it up with opponents and doesn't shy away from contact.
Intangibles: Vasquez is a vocal player and will engage in his share of trash talking. He enjoys playing mind games and will sometimes bait opposing players into retaliating against him with a foul. He will be one of the more hated players in the ACC as he has no qualms about yacking back at a hostile crowd. He has the qualities to be a leader on the court, however, and seems to enjoy the respect of his teammates beyond his performance on the box score. He will be a player that Maryland fans will grow to love.