The 6-foot-6 Vasquez, who has played for six teams over seven seasons since being selected by the Grizzlies in the first round of the 2010 NBA draft, was released by the Nets last November after it was determined he would require a second surgery to repair an injured ankle that limited him to 23 games the season before. Vasquez has been hanging out with family and rehabbing in his native Venezuela, but plans to return to the United States when NBA free agency begins July 1.
With Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings set to become free agents, the Wizards are in the market for a point guard. Washington also could address the position in the upcoming draft. Fellow former Maryland point guard Melo Trimble is among the players Washington has hosted for a pre-draft workout.
During Vasquez’s last healthy season, he averaged 9.5 points and 3.7 assists for the Raptors and drained a game-tying three-pointer late in the fourth quarter of Game 1 of Toronto’s first-round playoff series against the Wizards. Afterward, the 30-year-old did the shimmy that he regularly broke out during his career in College Park.
“Those four years were the best four years of my life,” Vasquez said Wednesday of his time at Maryland. “I’m still living a dream every time I remember everything that happened, everything that I went through at school, so I’m really thankful that I went to Maryland. Best fans in the world and best teachers, best people. I’m in love. When I’m retired, I’m going to go back to Maryland, and I told my kids, that’s where we’re going to stay. We’re going to live [near the school] because I’m not going to miss one game. The school just gave me so much and it put me in the situation where I’m at right now, to take care of my family, to be a leader in my community, and to me, that’s really important.”
Vasquez, who texted Durant to congratulate him after the Warriors won the NBA title Monday, recalled watching a Maryland-Duke game on TV during high school and deciding right then that Maryland was the school for him.
“I’m watching Coach [Gary] Williams jumping up and down yelling,” Vasquez said. “I’m watching the fan base and everything. I’m like, wow, that was my dream. I was like, ‘I want to play for that coach, I want to play for that school. I’m going to work hard. I need to be there.’ The moment I was watching the game I knew, I felt, I was going to go there.”
Vasquez is less sure that he’ll wind up with the Wizards, but he’s hoping.