Friday, February 18, 2011

Vasquez honored

Before the game against N.C. State on Sunday Maryland fans will get a reminder of what the 2011 Terrapins a missing most. Greivis Vasquez will have his now famous 21 honored and placed in the rafters at Comcast Center before the game. For his part Vasquez is as steadfast in his love for Maryland and his coach Gary Williams but the fans didn't always reciprocate. After most of a season with upperclassmen who look about as excited as Jack Nicholson after the shock treatments in One Flew Over the Cockoo's Nest it is worth noting that many fans were sick of Vasquez's exuberance and swagger in his time at Maryland. There wasn't much of that criticism when he was leading the team to a 13-3 record in the ACC, mind you, but certainly when he struggled to lift his modestly talented teammates to a higher level in prior seasons. Vasquez's skills were rare in any player so it isn't fair to say that the current guards are not as good because no player on Maryland since the national championship could match his play on the floor. What is also lacking in this group is the leadership and focus that Vasquez, along with Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes, helped to bring to the squad. I just don't see the level of desire to work, to improve and to win that Vasquez had in his time at Maryland in any of the current upperclassmen. Vasquez himself has said this current squad lacks a leader. Perhaps in the future the freshmen and Jordan Williams can grow into that role but they are not ready for it yet. That doesn't make them bad people. They seem to be nice fellows and decent representatives of the University of Maryland but they are not leaders and not heroes. Maryland needed a hero when Vasquez came along and his large personality filled an equally large hole in the basketball program. This season fans feel the lack of such a presence.

On Sunday if you can attend the game please show up a few minutes early and give one of the great Terrapins in the history of the program his due. If you didn't know how great Greivis Vasquez was before, brother, you know now.

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