PHILADELPHIA – Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love, where I figured I’d catch up with Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez as he went through perhaps his last workout before tomorrow’s 5 p.m. deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft.
Small problem: Vasquez tweaked an ankle in a group workout yesterday in New Jersey and wasn’t even in the Philadelphia 76ers’ practice facilty this morning.
I hilariously learned this well after arriving. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans.
In any case, that’s an extra – albeit minor – wrinkle for the decision.
Here’s the story I just filed for tomorrow’s dead-tree edition. Nothing too crazy or unexpected, but might as well share after making the two-hour drive north.
By Patrick Stevens
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
PHILADELPHIA | Greivis Vasquez faces a crucial decision about his basketball future on Monday. He didn’t get any on-court help in making it Sunday.
The Maryland guard did not participate in a scheduled workout with the Philadelphia 76ers after tweaking an ankle in a group workout Saturday in New Jersey.
While a bum ankle is unlikely to change the course of Vasquez’s thinking, it is merely another element tossed into the junior’s choice of returning to College Park for a final season or remaining in the NBA Draft.
The deadline for withdrawing from the draft is today at 5 p.m. Vasquez has not given any indication of his intentions besides re-iterating his desire to improve and eventually play in the NBA. He also has yet to hire an agent, a move that would forfeit his final year of eligibility.
Vasquez insisted last month he would turn pro to pursue NBA and not overseas opportunities, but in a deep point guard draft it would seem his chances of securing guaranteed money are uncertain.
Still, Vasquez’s feistiness – a trait that manifested itself in many ways the last three seasons – appears to be one of his greatest strengths in the minds of pro talent evaluators.
“He’s a great competitor,” said Courtney Witte, the 76ers director of player personnel who saw Vasquez at the New Jersey workout. “I think that’s his No. 1 attribute. He rises to the occasion. He loves to play. That’s a cliché, but he does love to play. A lot of players say that, but some don’t necessarily love to play. He clearly loves to play.”
It’s just a matter of whether he wishes to do so again at Maryland. Vasquez averaged 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists last season, helping to haul the Terrapins into the second round of the NCAA tournament in the process.
If Vasquez decides to stay at Maryland, the Terps would return four starters and seven of their top eight scorers and could warrant consideration for a preseason top-25 ranking.
Yet if he departs, Maryland would lose its leading scorer from the last two seasons and its assists leader from the last three years, a substantial hit to the program’s hopes of making consecutive NCAA tournaments for the first time since going 11 straight years between 1994 and 2004.
Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth and Wake Forest sophomore Jeff Teague, point guards projected in most mock drafts to be first-round selections, took part in Philadelphia’s workout.
Teague, who like Vasquez is facing a decision to turn pro or return to school today, was also part of Vasquez’s workout Saturday and said the Venezuelan wasn’t sharing his plans.
“I don’t know what he’s going to do,” Teague said. “Greivis is a different kind of guy. I was talking to him and he was talking about something else. He really wasn’t talking about what his decision was going to be.”