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20 in 20: No. 9 --- Greivis Vasquez

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The steady thing about most of the rundown of the top 20 players in Gary Williams‘ tenure at Maryland is that their careers are over. The accomplishments are there for the vetting, and they’re not changing regardless of what happens going forward.

But what to do with an active player?

Obviously, there’s still room to grow. And in the case of Greivis Vasquez, it’s easy to imagine a third straight season of at least 17-5-5 and another NCAA tournament banner to toss up at Comcast Center.

But it’s still not guaranteed. Which is why this ranking is based entirely on his first three seasons.

And those first three seasons were exceptional.

The individual nights – the triple-double against North Carolina as a junior, the near triple-double as a freshman at Duke, the buzzer-beater to force overtime against Vermont, the dominant outing in the NCAA tournament against California – stand on their own.

But it is also true that no one on this list did more in one season to single-handedly haul a team into the NCAA tournament than Vasquez did this past winter, with the possible exception of Keith Booth in 1997.

With a senior season left to come thanks to a decision to withdraw from the NBA Draft last week, Vasquez already has some favorable statistics on Maryland’s career lists. He’s 16th in points, fourth in assists, 15th in steals, sixth in 3-pointers. He’s also six rebounds away from reaching 500.

Assuming he gets those – possibly all in Maryland’s season opener in November – Vasquez will have 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 500 assists.

And no Terp has ever scaled all three of those plateaus. Toss in 100+ steals and 100+ 3-pointers, and a case can be made that Vasquez is the most complete big guard in school history.

At that point, the discussion becomes where would Vasquez rate a year later. It’ll take quite an Olympian season to land in Juan Dixon-Joe Smith-Walt Williams territory. But as I wrote in April, a duplicate of Vasquez’s junior season would lead to some heady things:

Points: 2,137 (third in Maryland history between Len Bias and Albert King)
Rebounds: 683 (tied for 18th with Joe Smith)
Assists: 740 (second between Steve Blake and Keith Gatlin)
Steals: 184 (seventh between Terrell Stokes and Walt Williams)
3-pointers made: 227 (second between Juan Dixon and Mike Jones)

But, like everything else, those totals are far from assured. If Vasquez gets them, he’ll be in jersey-honoring territory, all-conference territory, possibly All-America territory.

He’d also be in top-five territory for the purposes of this list. For now, though, Vasquez earned his spot in the top-10 – even if he isn’t entirely finished building his resume.

Previously:

* No. 20: Exree Hipp
* No. 19: James Gist
* No. 18: Obinna Ekezie
* No. 17: Evers Burns
* No. 16: D.J. Strawberry
* No. 15: Drew Nicholas
* No. 14: Tony Massenburg
* The Next 10
* No. 13: Chris Wilcox
* No. 12: John Gilchrist
* No. 11: Laron Profit
* No. 10: Terence Morris

Patrick Stevens

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