(Associated Press)

Colleague Michael Lee checked in with local hero and current New Orleans Hornets point guard Greivis Vasquez, who’s in town to face the Washington Wizards on Friday night. The former University of Maryland all-American is having his best professional season, leading all players at his position with 24 double-doubles and averaging 14 points and 9.4 assists per game. Lee writes that he’s a legitimate contender for the NBA’s most improved player award.

Lee asked Vasquez about the Terps’ program, and was kind enough to pass along the quotes that didn’t make it into his story. Here’s what Vasquez said:

I think they’re headed in the right direction. They did a great job. I still believe they got a good chance to win a couple games in the ACC tournament and try to make a run to make the NCAA tournament. It’s not going to be easy, but I think the whole transition process is going well. It’s not going to turn the whole program in two years. It’s going to take a little bit of time for him to turn it around. I think he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

That’s what I like about Coach Turgeon. I’m excited about him and I’m excited about the team. I know they’re going to get better. Maybe next year, maybe the following year, but I know he will turn it around. I know he’s going to … he cares. I’ll be watching those guys play, watching them on TV, online. I follow my Terps. I know we’re going to be okay.

The Hornets tip off against Washington at 7 p.m. Friday night, the same time when the Terps face Duke in the ACC tournament.