Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vasquez plays well in FIBA

It hasn't been a fun FIBA Americas Championship for Venezuela. After getting blow out by team USA in the opening game by 43 points they followed up with a tough loss to Canada 80-73 and then played a very talented Brazil squad that put up 101 points against their 75. Maryland's Greivis Vasquez has been the starting point guard for the Venezuelan team and has played very well considering he is a college sophomore playing against professionals who are usually eight years older than him.

Some of the chatter about Vasquez declaring for the NBA is very premature. Vasquez may have held his own but he is a long way from being ready for the NBA. Unless he gets some crazy idea in his head he is at least two more college seasons away from that point. He didn't get much help from his teammates and the team defense of Venezuela is dreadful. There was little weak side rotation regardless of the man or zone defenses that Venezuela tried. The high screen help defense by the big men was practically nonexistent and Vasquez was often trying to flail through a moving screen as his teammate just stood there and the opponent drained an open 3-pointer. Despite this Vasquez did a competent job against the better scorers on the opponents squad. He still needs to improve his weak side defense as he is often slow to rotate and his defensive rebounding was apathetic. He got a little frustrated towards the end of the Brazil game and was benched after getting called for an intentional foul on Tiago Splitter. Vasquez drove into the lane and lost the ball which ended up in Splitter's hands. Vasquez tried a hard strip move on Splitter that wasn't worthy of an intentional foul call but he needs to get a handle on his sometimes volitle emotions.

His point totals in three games have been 12,9 and 13 so far. His assist to turnover ratio isn't all that great with a 9:14 mark. On big positive is that Vasquez is shooting 46.2% from 3-point range from the international line which is a big improvement from the 32% he shot in his freshman campaign. He still ran the offense well even if he got out of control sometimes and had a few too many turnovers. His ability to dribble penetrate was displayed nicely and he was able to create some opportunities for his teammates even if they had little ability to convert those chances.

Venezuela is headed for an early exit sitting at 0-3 but this has been a great experience for Greivis and will help him this fall when he transitions to the roll of leader and cornerstone player for Gary Williams.

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