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They made Greivis Vasquez, then they broke the mold

Maryland's chance to win the ACC regular season title has made this something of a season of vindication for Coach Gary Williams and Greivis Vasquez.
Maryland's chance to win the ACC regular season title has made this something of a season of vindication for Coach Gary Williams and Greivis Vasquez. (John Mcdonnell/the Washington Post)
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By Mike Wise
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It is senior night in College Park, which just demands a good Greivis Vasquez story or two, no?

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Two years ago on a team charter to Miami, cellphone to his ear. The charming, if accented, English of a cocksure Venezuelan absolutely making a Maryland coed coo.

"Why should you go out with me?" he asked the young woman on the other end. "You should go out with me because I'm good looking, I'm a great basketball player and I'm going to be very wealthy one day."

Debbie Yow, the eavesdropping athletic director seated in front of him on the plane, almost made Vasquez blush when she asked whom he was talking to.

She could have been a student-athlete. She could have been Shakira, Jessica Alba or Maria Sharapova. Didn't matter. Even as a sophomore, Greivis Vasquez oozed and seeped confidence -- in everything.

His four-year tenure at Maryland was not a career as much as a four-act play. Filled with theater. Filled with athletic arrogance of the highest art.

Shimmying. Playing to the crowd. Showing the Cameron Crazies he was crazier. Taking on his own fans if he felt they needed some Caracas junk mouthed to them.

Spills and thrills, each spring semester.

Like the night last season he slung the stone and knocked out North Carolina, the uber-emotional player, figuratively standing back-to-back with his uber-emotional coach in a bar brawl -- primal screams of the victors to follow.

See, whether they can drop Duke on Wednesday night or not -- whether Gary Williams and his kindred on-court spirit can spread frosting on top of this less-maddening, much more satisfying season -- really doesn't matter in the long haul.

Gary and Greivis won. They vanquished their detractors, many of whom did not want either of them to return to Maryland this season.

It's ridiculous to think about now, with Maryland firmly in second place in the ACC with a chance to claim the conference regular season title, but both of their legacies were embattled about this time a year ago.


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