- Associated Press - Thursday, October 14, 2010

COLLEGE PARK, Md. | The next era of Maryland basketball will be rated PG — Post-Greivis.

The departure of Greivis Vasquez to the NBA leaves coach Gary Williams searching for a leader and a new leading scorer. Vasquez, the heart of the team for four seasons, will be sorely missed.

“I’ve coached very few players like him,” Williams said. “He was very demonstrative on the court.”

In the huddle, too. Vasquez was so boisterous that his teammates had little choice but to step into place behind him.

“One of the things that happens when you’re playing with a great player like Greivis is sometimes you defer to him,” Williams said. “He’s going to take the last shot, he’s going to do this, he’s going to do that. That just becomes part of the team for that particular year.”

Vasquez and fellow seniors Landon Milbourne and Eric Hayes finished 1-2-3 in scoring last year. Now it’s up to incoming seniors Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker and Dino Gregory to carry Maryland to a third straight appearance in the NCAA tournament.

“This is their turn, their opportunity to show how good they are,” Williams said. “Hopefully, they really go after it.”

The three seniors, 6-foot-10 sophomore center Jordan Williams and junior guard Sean Mosley — the only returning player who averaged in double figures last season — will get plenty of playing time.

The team has six newcomers — junior college transfer Berend Weijs and five true freshmen. There’s no telling how many of them will work their way into the 9-man rotation for the Nov. 8 opener against Seattle University.

Another open-ended question: Who will play the role of the leader?

Williams expects one of his seniors to step up, which is exactly what Gregory has in mind.

“It’s the seniors again. It’s our year, our team,” said Gregory, a 6-7 forward. “We’re the leaders of the team, but Jordan and Sean have experience, so they can be leaders, too.”

Jordan Williams averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds as a freshman and was clearly Maryland’s go-to guy down low. This season, he intends to do more than merely score and rebound.

“Greivis, Landon and Eric kind of put me under their wing and helped me develop good leadership skills,” Jordan Williams said. “Just watching them and being around them definitely brought a lot out of me. I’m a sophomore, but I can’t act like it. I’ve got to act like I’m a leader and push this team as much as I can.”

His improvement on the court is just as important.

“Jordan Williams had an impact last year against some really good players,” Gary Williams said. “Jordan has to keep developing. What he did last year can’t be where he’s at this year because teams know him, and we have a different team. He’s got to step it up.”

 

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