Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vasquez rumors

There has been a great deal of speculation regarding Greivis Vasquez declaring for the NBA draft. I think Vasquez is probably going to throw his name in there as DJ Strawberry and Ekene Ibekwe did a couple of years ago. I also think the odds that Vasquez is going to hire an agent and stay in the draft are fairly close to zero. It makes sense for him to figure out what he needs to improve to make himself more desirable in the eyes of professional scouts. His ball handling and outside shooting need to improve dramatically if he is to play on the professional level. With all of the underclassmen already declaring for this draft it would be a huge mistake for Vasquez to leave Maryland. Right now he is probably a borderline late 2nd round pick at best. More likely he would not get drafted and have to hope to play in the NBDL or Europe. Vasquez has been very clear that he wants to play in the NBA so neither of those routes would get him much closer to his goal than staying at Maryland and perhaps entering a weaker 2009 draft. I don't think Maryland fans have much to worry about. The General will be back next fall.

There has regularly been chatter about Gary Williams using Juco players to fill holes and whether that is a good thing or not. I don't have a problem with the use of junior college players per se as they can be very useful additions. You often get players who are more mature and physically ready to contribute than the majority of high school recruits. It is concerning if the use of Juco players indicates a lack of planning in the recruiting strategy of a program. In some cases for Maryland that has been true since the 2002 national title. On the other hand Maryland has done very well with players like Jamar Smith, Ryan Randle and Boom Osby. It is also true that players like Parrish Brown and Sterling Ledbetter have not panned out as expected but normal four year recruits often flop as well. The problems with team chemistry and off the court legal entanglements over the last 5 years have not originated from the junior college players on the team. To the contrary this past season Osby filled a valuable leadership role and is going to graduate, as Brown did last season. In a perfect world Maryland wouldn't need to tap the junior college ranks but there is little reason to suggest that the Juco players Maryland has brought in are part of the problem. The recent addition of Tyree Evans is somewhat different in that he brings significant personal baggage, which would be the case if he was a junior college player or not. From some of the articles in the press it appears Evans has learned some hard lessons over the last few years. Let's hope during his time at Maryland he only makes headlines for his basketball accomplishments.

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