Maryland star Greivis Vasquez works out for the Washington Wizards
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas stood along the railing of the pathway that leads down to the team's practice court on Monday afternoon. To his left were new team owner Ted Leonsis and President Ernie Grunfeld, the two men who will attempt to reshape the image of a franchise coming off a 56-loss season in which the team's star -- Arenas -- was suspended 50 games for bringing guns into a Verizon Center locker room.
But that's a long-term project. On Monday, the trio watched as six prospects, including former Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez, worked out in the hopes that they might impress the team enough to soon play alongside Arenas. In addition to holding the No. 1 overall pick in the June 24 draft, the Wizards also possess the 30th and 35th picks.
Vasquez -- who was joined at the workout by Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin, Michigan State's Raymar Morgan, UTEP's Derrick Caracter, Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado, and Devin Sweetney (Riverdale Baptist) of St. Francis (Pa.) -- said he's prepared to step out of the spotlight that followed him throughout a college career in which he became one of the most prolific scorers in Terrapins history.
"I know my role is going to be different on an NBA team than it was in college," Vasquez said. "It's not about me playing 48 minutes and taking big-time shots. It's just maybe coming off the bench and being a backup point guard and learning from some veteran guys and getting better until eventually I become the starting point guard of a team. It's going to take me a little while. . . .
"It's not like I got to go to a team and be the starting point guard right away. No, I got to work my way up. I want to earn everything I get in the NBA, so obviously, I want to come to a team like this if I can and work hard and help the team win games by maybe being the guy that comes to practice and gets guys better, or whether I back up somebody, Gilbert or somebody, playing at the point guard position or the two-guard."
Vasquez said he arrived at Verizon Center early for Monday's workout and saw Arenas -- who made his first public appearance at the team's facility since being suspended in January but was not made available to reporters -- playing one-on-one.
"I was like, 'Wow,' " Vasquez said.
Less surprising to Vasquez has been the draft process he is experiencing for the second straight year. Last year, Vasquez withdrew his name from the draft after participating in more than a dozen workouts. Now, he said he's more prepared for what teams expect and less concerned with where he will be picked come draft day.
"I'm not really afraid of the draft," Vasquez said. "I think going through the whole process last year and seeing the guys who got drafted second round or guys that got undrafted . . . it's not about whether I go fifth in the draft or [number] 20 or [number] 35 or second round or undrafted. It's just the right fit. Maryland was the right fit for me for four years.
"I want to be with the right team in the right situation. I want to develop my game into a level where I become a big-time pro, and it's going to take a little while. You know, a lot of people get caught up with whether I go middle first or late first or high second. I just want to be with the right team in the right situation."