Grow Up Vasquez; Then Maybe We Will

1/11/2009 12:54:23 AM I'm going to put aside the age-old question of 'should your own fans boo' for a moment while addressing Greivis Vasquez's comments after the win over Georgia Tech.  I'll say this though, I think 99% of us watching at home were cursing him loudly after he took dumb shot after dumb shot and looked way too much like the Vasquez of last season.  You remember, the horrible season where he nearly had 3 triple-doubles that included turnovers.

I'm also not going to say that Vasquez was horrible in the game against the Jackets.  I originally said it was his worst game, but after re-visiting  it, he did have some quality moments and hit a couple big shots to go along with the frustration of seeing mostly selfish play.  Mostly.  To take a long 3-pointer with 30 seconds on the shot clock with 2:00 left of a 2 point game is selfish and just not smart, especially when you have been 0-5 in the game from long range.

Okay, now to the comments.  Vasquez verbally abused members of the student section late in the game and had this to say afterwards.  These quotes courtesy of the Washington Post:

"You tell me how Eric Hayes got the threes? Who passed him the ball? I did," Vasquez said. "I missed a lot of shots, but I made decisions at the end. And then I don't get credit for that, which I don't want. But I want them to support everyone on the team. I just don't like when the fans get like that."

Is he really wanting us to give him credit for passes?  It's not like they were amazing dishes where he got the entire defense to collapse on him and he found the open man for a game winning shot.  They were good passes.  And don't give me that 'i don't want the credit' stuff.  If he didn't want the credit, he wouldn't have said all that.  There is no doubt the fans are a bit spoiled after the Final 4's, but the way they've played the past few years, you have to accept the frustration of a fanbase that has watched their supposed top program fall to mediocrity and lose to low-majors.

“If they don’t believe in us, they can get the hell out. We don’t need them anyway. We need the people who will support us, who are with us. I know they are all happy now, but they didn’t believe in us when we were down.  I want to say thank you to the people who were supporting us and believing in us."

It was important for Vasquez to make it clear that he appreciates the fans that don't give him crap, that was at least something, and shame on the Washington Post for omitting that part of the quote.  I saw it on the Baltimore Sun site.  It's a shame some papers only print the worst stuff to be more dramatic.  Anyway, the other question is, after what us fans have been through the past two seasons, do you really think we had much belief when you came out shooting 25%? 

Yes, we are thrilled that the team came together and did enough to beat a bad team at home, but it's been a tough time in recent years.  Unfortunately, you are a part of a team that has disappointed more than it has made us cheer.  That being said, most of us are Terp fans through thick and thin and while we criticize you, we still want you to win.  Oh, and just because some fans boo or show frustration doesn't mean they don't support you.  If they didn't care, they wouldn't be there.  They paid good money to go to those games and that is support.  And yes, you NEED them.

“They don’t believe in what we do,” Vasquez said. “I didn’t shoot well, no one else did. But they always get on me. They are always expecting something out of me. I’m not here for the fans. I’m here for myself, my family and Coach Williams.”

You are damn right we expect something out of you.  You are the best player on the team and when you play well, there are few that can take over a game like you.  But when you get frustrated and stubborn and play selfishly, you are damn right we want better.  Whether it's fair or not, it's our right to get frustrated when we think you are trying to do too much, and in doing so, hurt the team.

We all know it comes from a desire to win and to lead your team to victory,  but you are a junior now and you should know better ways to lead your team to victory.  Saying you are not here for the fans is wrong.  If not for the fans, you would be nothing.  If you expect to play professionally, you are going to need those fans.  So keep those opinions to yourself.  Oh, and I really hope you feel that your teammates are your family because I didn't see you say you are here for them in that quote above.

“We are a totally different team. What the hell are they thinking?”

This was in response to comparing the struggles in the past week to last year.  Well, for those of us who watch every game, this week sure did look like last year.  We're thinking that the team was playing horribly.  That's what we were thinking.

Now, I want to be clear in case Vasquez or anyone else connected to the team reads this. We love Vasquez when he is on his game.  We love that he is the pest that other team's hate.  We love that most of those teams would love to have him.  We love his belief in himself and his desire to try and take the team on his back.  We love that he can miss the first 10 shots he takes, but has no problem taking that 11th one because he thinks he'll make it every time.  We love his enthusiasm (most of the time). 


We don't like his trash talking to us!  We don't like that he plays selfishly at times and stubbornly tries to go 1 on 4 or throw up a long shot with 30 seconds left on the shot clock in a close game.  We don't like that he tries some crazy reckless and high risk passes in tight situations.  I realize that you get what you get with him and trying to curb one part of his game will sacrifice the others.  What I'm trying to say is that he needs to play more in control and think about the team instead of doing something that will get him noticed. 

It looked like we had a different Vasquez during the first 13 games of this season. He was more in control and we didn't see many turnovers or selfish plays.  The past 2 games have been a horrible flashback to last year.  Us fans just wish that Vasquez can go back to leading his team with smart play and understand that it's been tough on the fanbase after a long run of success.  I was in Cole Field House for nearly every home game from 1993-1998 and those were some special crowds that never disappointed in numbers and enthusiasm.  In those days we were just happy to be a legitimate program again. I'm not asking for that, but it would be nice for the students to come out and make the Comcast Center more of a home court advantage.  If we had that advantage, I don't think we would have lost to Morgan State.

Now, that still does not give Vasquez the right to do what he did and say what he said.  Remember Greivis, these are your fans and they are the only fans you have.  Most of them were just frustrated with what looked like another disappointing loss.  Give them a break and maybe they'll give you one.  I suggest you apologize (even if you don't feel like you have to) and remember there are a whole lot more real supportive fans than the one's you heard on Saturday.
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