The Importance of Being Greivis

12/19/2009 10:27:12 PM I know I’ve developed a reputation as a Vaquez-hater. Through my twitter with Turtle Sports Report and my limited work here, people have surmised that I have some sort of disdain for our Venezuelan leader.

I’m hoping to squash those rumors like small bugs with this post. I don’t hate Greivis. I swear. I love the guy. In the following paragraphs I’ll tell you why as a basketball player he’s earned a warm place in my heart, but he’s also hilarious. In interviews, press conferences, and just around campus, he’s always smiling, laughing, and being friendly. He’s a great, genial guy.

Now on to the basketball analysis. Greivis has many flaws. He’s not very fast. He’s not all that strong. He’s an inconsistent shooter from long range. He has a penchant for careless turnovers (sometimes a lot of them). That’s about it.

Greivis is better at scoring in traffic than just about any non-NBA-Hall-of-Famer I’ve ever seen. His ability to finish difficult shots in the lane is just legendary. I watch him drive like a whirling dervish, get frustrating as to what he’s doing, and then watch a teardrop floater just sink through the net like a work of art.

I love that he does that. The Terps currently have a player whose only skill is penetrating (Bowie, in case you didn’t know), a player who chooses to never penetrate (Hayes), a player who Gary plays too rarely for his skill level (Tucker) and Greivis. That’s our backcourt. Without GV, it becomes one of the worst in the ACC. With Greivis, it’s one of the best.

His on-court acumen is quite possibly underrated. How is that possible when he’s all anyone in the non-UM-centric media talks about? Because his intangibles are so freaking unbelievable, that’s how. No one else in that locker room has to huevos to talk like GV. Hayes, Milbourne and Mosley? They’re all the quiet type. Gary needs a lieutenant among the players. That’s Vasquez. He’s as strong a leader as there’s ever been among the players. He talks, he leads, they follow.

When the Terps need a big bucket or big performance? Does anyone else answer like GV? I mean, I don’t even have to mention that triple-double he dropped on UNC last year – something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Besides that, how he played in the ACC tournament last year and how the Terps fare when he’s having an off night? They’re two different teams.

Let me get back to X’s and O’s for a second here. Greivis is the most prolific 3-point shooter in UM history, he dominates shorter guards, is a dynamic rebounder from the backcourt, and averages a steal and a half per game, which is terrific.

The reason I’ve been labeled a Greivis-hater is obviously my criticisms of our leader. Which is fair, yet misguided. I love Greivis. I’m not his biggest fan, but I certainly don’t hate or disrespect him. I expect a lot from him.

Vasquez is massively talented. He has the court vision of Jason Kidd with the size of Michael Jordan. He can do so much more with what he’s been given, and it’s frustrating watching a once-in-a-generation talent not reach his full potential. I hope he does, and when he moves on to the NBA (which he will) I’ll be pulling for him just as much as the rest of you.

Viva el Vasquez!
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