College Park, MD Greivis Vasquez may never be allowed to forget what he said about Cameron Indoor Stadium before Maryland was beaten down by 41 points a season ago.
“That’s my house, I love going in there. It’s going to be fun.”
If only Maryland’s senior guard from Venezuela had picked a game at Comcast Center to make that statement before, the quote may have lived on with a different type of historical significance.
Vasquez was once again brilliant for the Terps Monday night, putting up 25 points in the first half en route to a 30 point performance that paced his team in a 85-66 win over Virginia that wasn’t really nearly as close as the score may have indicated. On top of 30 points, Vasquez pulled down 8 rebounds, added 5 assists and didn’t commit a single turnover. With the win, Maryland remained just a single game behind Duke in the loss column atop the ACC standings, tied with Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.
It was the type of performance that Gary Williams didn’t risk waiting for a question about in order to praise during his post-game media session.
“What he did tonight was exceptional” said Williams. “I think he really wanted us to get off to a good start. What he did in that first half there, that was as good as I’ve seen in a half against a quality team” for Maryland basketball.
While he stopped short of quantifying the performance in historical context, Williams did take note that two of the greatest guards in Maryland history-Steve Francis and Walt Williams-were in the building as Vasquez dominated.
The building in Durham has certainly not gone down as Vasquez’s “house”, but there is no doubt at this point that the building that succeeded Cole Field House as the home of the Maryland Terrapins IS Greivis Vasquez’s “house.”
There’s just not an argument. Greivis Vasquez is the single greatest player in the Comcast Center’s short history. Some call it “the House that Gary built”, but it has to be considered the “House that Greivis Vasquez runs” as well.
Now, this isn’t exactly the greatest of compliments, as the only other candidates for the honor would be players like Drew Nicholas and Steve Blake (who only called the building home for one season), DJ Strawberry, Nic Caner-Medley, James Gist, Mike Jones, Landon Milbourne and John Gilchrist-who was likely the best player in the building’s history before Vasquez. The building only opened in 2002, and there will undoubtedly be a number of players who will hold the honor before Maryland moves into any other sort of facility.
But the honor clearly belongs to Vasquez now.
Now with 1,939 career points; Vasquez is nearly 400 points clear of Caner-Medley; who previously had the most points of any Terrapin to have played in the building. His 706 career assists are only second to Blake-who only got a quarter of his dishes during the season he played at Comcast. Vasquez has nearly twice the amount of assists as Gilchrist, who is now second amongst players in the Comcast era.
The building itself has remained very special for Vasquez, who said afterwards that he just wanted “to enjoy the last couple games” he would play in his college home. Players don’t often share special “relationships” with buildings, but Vasquez’s relationship with Comcast is starting to resemble the relationship Juan Dixon shared at Cole Field House-a building where he spent so much time that he famously took his girlfriend there on dates.
Juan Dixon closed Cole as the building’s best player thanks the special relationship, and Vasquez’s special relationship with the new building has made him the best player to have hit the court since the doors opened.
Again, I’m not exactly making some sort of great historical proclamation; but this is certainly worth noting as analysts and fans alike continue to try to give Vasquez’s greatness historical reference.
What certainly can’t be quantified by stats but remains significant in terms of historical significance is the incredible number of times the senior guard has put his team on his shoulders in the most important of situations. Vasquez did that again Monday night, as Maryland suffered their worst loss of the season (a 21 point setback at the aforementioned Cameron Indoor) that left some wondering whether or not this team was using smoke and mirrors to get off to a 6-2 start in ACC play.
Of course, maybe it’s just smoke, mirrors and a gutty kid from Caracas who doesn’t want his career to be remembered with the stigma of having never advanced past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
The building in College Park has seen just Blake’s uniform sent to the rafters since opening; and it has been nearly seven years since that occurrence. But Blake’s uniform appears ready for company along with the greats from Cole Field House; and it appears as though it will be the company of the first player from outside the United States to so be honored at Maryland.
Before that, Vasquez will have the chance to add an addition to his “house”; a championship banner of some sort. The building has added just one banner (from the mens team anyway) since opening, the 2004 ACC Tournament banner. Vasquez has the chance at an ACC regular season or Tournament title to go along with it-the type of addition that would mean so much more to his already impressive resume.