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The Vasquez Q&A

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Let’s be clear about one thing: Greivis Vasquez wants to get better.

He only mentioned the word “better” on 29 occasions in a little more than 14 minutes today. That’s a rapid-fire reply rate, something that Bobby Bowden (“dadgum”), Roy Williams (“frickin’”), Gary Williams (“In other words”) and other ACC luminaries couldn’t come close to matching if they tried.

So be warned: There’s a lot about getting better in this mostly complete transcript. The questions have been reduced to their most basic form, and there’s some stuff that was left out because people were leaving the practice gym and hollering down the hall. That doesn’t do much for audio quality.

In any case, parse Vasquez’s comments for yourself. It’s pretty clear no decision has been made yet, and trying to guess what Vasquez will ultimately do (even after peppering him with questions) is really a fool’s errand. You’ve got a 50 percent chance of being right, but it remains as much a guess as anything else at this stage:

Q: How was the workout?

GV: It was fun. It was really fun. I’m just happy I’m doing the whole process. The whole thing for me is just to get better.

Q: Is this your first workout?

GV: This is my third workout.

Q: Where else did you work out?

GV: I worked out with the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio and the Wizards.

Q: How did this compare to those workouts? Were they all kind of the same?

GV: Kind of. Today was pretty tough. There were great players and good matchups. It was fun. I love to compete. As long as I compete against guys like the guys that were here today, I’m always going to get better. So this is my goal, to get better.

Q: What did you show here and in some of your other workouts?

GV: I’m shooting the ball way better. I’m feeling more comfortable shooting the ball. I feel I’m playing better one-on-one defense. It’s too early to make comments about whether I’m going to stay or not. I just want to get better. As long as I get better and become a better player, that’s what I want to do.

Q: Do you have any workouts left?

GV: Yes sir, I do. I have a couple more workouts left.

Q: When and where?

GV: I have to go to Chicago next week and I’m going to Minneapolis in a couple weeks.

Q: How do things change when you get a chance to work out for a team that’s so close to College Park?

GV: I love it. The Wizards are the team I’m always following because I go to school 25 minutes away. I’m trying to be pro. I’m trying to hopefully make it one day, and I have to have take this as an interview. I’m more than a fan. I want these guys to win, but at the same time I’m trying to make it with the team.

Q: Is your leadership skills what’s going to help you get to that next level as well as your on-the-court [play]?

GV: It will help me a little bit. I don’t wish bad on anybody. I’m always trying to cheer and be a good teammate. It makes it more fun when you cheer for somebody and they’re making shots, they might do it for you so the workouts might go a little bit smoother. It’s just fun. That’s my personality and I’m always going to be like that.

Q: How tough do you think [the decision to stay or go] will be?

GV: I’m not thinking about how tough it’s going to be. This is the time for me to get better as an individual. It’s summertime. It’s not about me going or leaving. It’s about me getting better. If something comes up, it’s hard for me to go. But I don’t have to. I might stay. It’s hard to say right now.

Q: What kind of guarantee would it take?

GV: It’s too early to answer those types of questions. I really can’t say nothing about that. Like I said, my main mentality is just getting better.

Q: Are you evaluating international opportunities as well?

GV: No. Let’s make that clear. Not at all. Greivis Vasquez is not going overseas. He’s not playing in Europe. I would like to get my education and get my degree if it comes down to overseas. I think I’m going to work hard to make it and be a pro one day. But it’s not going to be overseas right now.

Q: What did [Kobe Bryant] say to you about playing in the NBA?

GV: He talked to me in Spanish and told me if you keep working the way you’re working, you’ll make it one day. I’m always going to remember that. Yesterday, I just had a good conversation with [Manu] Ginobili because he was working out by himself. The rookies and the college guys were working out. I had a great conversation with him and he gave me great advice. He said keep working and don’t give up. You’re going to go through workouts and things aren’t all going to go your way. People are going to score on you. Sometimes, things are going to go wrong, but just keep your composure and be a leader. Things are going to work out for you. I’m just trying to learn. This is fun for me. I’m a junior, and I don’t have no pressure at all. I’m coming to these workouts and just trying to get better. I’m not trying to get a contract. I’m not going with that mentality, but I am going with the mentality that I want to learn as much as I can.

Q: How have you addressed your game?

GV: [Early portion of response garbled with background noise]. I was 180 pounds when I got to school and now I’m 200 pounds. I feel stronger. You can tell if you watch me shoot the ball I feel more comfortable. My speed is getting better, and I’m just getting better overall. This is a fun time for me because I can work on those areas right now. If I get better at that, it’ll make me a great player.

Q: What are you hoping to get done in Chicago next week?

GV: I’m going with the mentality that I’m going to learn. I’m going to go through the whole process and have fun and see what’s there for me. Just get tested and make sure I do well on my interviews and the whole process.

Q: Has anything surprised you in these three workouts.

GV: I feel more comfortable. I’m not afraid of anybody one-on-one. Shooting-wise, it’s just outstanding. I’m feeling better. I’m not saying I’m going to make every shot every time. Just my form and the way I’m using my body. My coach is doing a great job of getting me ready for these workouts.

Q: What adjustments have you made to help you out?

GV: Getting stronger, getting in the weight room more, spending more time in the gym shooting more. I’m spending three hours just shooting basketballs and doing drills to get me ready for this type of workout.

Q: But in terms of your shot?

GV: My thing was just using my legs. My shot, my form is not bad at all. It’s just me using my body.

Q: You feel like you’re a lead guard?

GV: I’m a point guard. That’s another think I want to make clear. I’m not a shooting guard. I’m a combo guard. I do whatever the coach wants me to do, but I’m a point guard. I’m a 6-5 point guard. It’s not me trying to be cocky. It’s just me telling people the position I play. Some people get it confused because I’m 6-5 and [they think] I’m a two-guard. I want to lead the team. The best part of my game is my passing ability. Let me run a team. Don’t make me score 40 points or 20 points and then we can talk. My thing is just making my teammates better and making guys better with my passing abilities and just leading the team. I’m not trying to get to the next level and score 20 points a game. I’m trying to lead the team and make everybody involved and get my game going.

Q: [Not really a question, but a statement that some people think Vasquez’s game is more conducive to the pro level]

GV: Today in the workout, I felt much more confident in the 2-on-2 than the 1-on-1. I made some good passes and my teammates made some good shots today. That’s me. I’m happy when I do that. That’s my game. Me passing the ball and making somebody better and somebody scoring gets me excited and gets me fired up.

Q: What has your father said of your decision to enter your name in the draft?

GV: My whole family is supportive. I’m not trying to rush anything. I’m not trying to make a decision and I’m not trying to rush anything. It’s a time for me to learn and get better and become a better player. It’s beneficial to Maryland if I go back and it’ll be beneficial to myself if I go to the NBA. They just want the best for me, and they’re praying. They’re supporting me. The whole country is really involved in my whole NBA process. That’s really great to know.

Q: What about your high school coach?

GV: My high school coach is Stu Vetter. He’s like my father. He’s helping me out. He’s my guardian. He’s part of the whole process and making sure I’m good. He went to these past two workouts I did with Cleveland and San Antonio and just sitting in the stands. It shows how much he cares about me. That’s why I’m so thankful.

Q: How often are you talking to Gary and how much input does he have in this decision?

GV: Almost every week. The whole process is not for me to put Maryland behind my back. The whole process is trying to get better as a player and gaining experience. Why not? Why not do it? I suggest every junior in the country should do it? Why not? Just because you’re going against some good competition, you’re only going to get better. If a guy kills you in one of those workouts, you’re going to get mad and you come back and you get better. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m trying to get better.

Q: Is this weighing on you or are you just going with it?

GV: I’m just having fun. This is fun. Just having the chance to be a pro and getting better and going against guys like Jodie Meeks, who had 54 points against Tennessee. He played well against me one-on-one. I have to give him credit.

Q: What kind of an effect has Stu Vetter had on him by traveling to workouts?

GV: He’s like my father, so it makes it more comfortable for me. He wants the best for me. …

Q: Will he come to the next couple workouts?

GV: He might not come, but he was making sure I was good.

Q: How much of you wants to come back regardless of anything?

GV: That’s a hard question to answer right now. I don’t want to be rude. The whole thing is just about me getting better. Why not go against guys like Jodie Meeks? What am I going to do at Maryland right now? I’m going to test the waters and get better. If I come back, I come back. If I have to move on, I have to move on.

Q: What were some of the guys you worked out against before?

GV: I worked out with Wayne Ellington, Danny Green, Dionte Christmas from Temple. Darren Collison from UCLA, Josh Heytvelt was at one of my workouts. Leo Lyons from  Missouri, the guy who played for University of Central Florida, [Jermaine] Taylor. It’s great competition. Some of those guys went to those workouts with a lot of pressure. I went to have fun and get better.

Q: Is it going to come down to the wire with the decision?

GV: It’ll probably be right there. I have a couple workouts left.

Patrick Stevens

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