Terps Legend Greivis Vasquez Wants To Be More Involved With Maryland Men’s Basketball

With the college basketball season having recently come to an end, Maryland fans can start to think about the future of Terps basketball under new head coach Kevin Willard. After an underwhelming 2022 season in which Maryland finished 15-17 and missed the NCAA Tournament, fans are eager to see what Willard can bring to the table.

Fans can point to several different reasons for Maryland’s underwhelming performances in recent years, especially this season. But for Maryland basketball great Greivis Vasquez, there is one key thing missing from the basketball program — the idea of family.

Vasquez is passionate about the need for the program to make the necessary changes if Maryland wants to get back on top in college basketball world, making it clear that the current program must stay connected to former players and coaches.

“We have to come back together. We have to bring everyone together again — former players, everyone,” Vasquez said on Glenn Clark Radio April 4. “They’ve got to get us more involved. … We’ve got to figure out a way to make this about the school, to be more unified and to understand that it’s irritating not being in the tournament and not doing things properly for a basketball program.”

Vasquez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to Maryland to play high school hoops at Montrose Christian. He then played at Maryland from 2006-2010, averaging 16.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.7 seasons in 136 games played.

The Venezuelan floor general helped the Terps reach three NCAA Tournaments and win a share of the regular-season ACC championship in 2009-10. As a senior in 2009-10, Vasquez averaged 19.6 points and 6.3 assists. He won the Bob Cousy Award, awarded to the best point guard in college basketball, and ACC Player of the Year.

The school means so much to the 35-year-old Vasquez that he feels he needs to do something to “pay” back the school for allowing him to live the life he has. After his four-year career at Maryland, Vasquez played in the NBA from 2010-2017. He recently called the Final Four in Spanish for Westwood One.

“I know we’re doing a lot of different things around the school, a lot of infrastructure, we’re remodeling a lot of things on campus, but it’s time for us to start winning some basketball games,” Vasquez said. “And I say that because I care. Like I said, I take responsibility as well. I think I have to be more involved and I have to go back more.”

Vasquez credits passion and togetherness for the success his teams had at Maryland. Both things are critical to success, according to Vasquez, and it’s something that the current Maryland program needs.

“What’s Maryland? What’s the University of Maryland? What’s the personality? What is our identity? What is our DNA?” Vasquez asked. “We are passionate. We’re emotional. We spread our emotions by playing basketball, playing football, playing soccer — one of the best soccer programs in the nation. … We are a school that whenever anyone talks about us, they talk about fire. They talk about [how] we care. We express a lot through our emotions and first you have to match that.”

Vasquez made it clear that this type of personality and passion needs to translate to the basketball team. All of this starts with the head coach and Vasquez thinks that Willard could be the guy to make it happen.

“You’ve got to hire someone that [matches] the personality, the passion, that understands what it takes to coach Maryland,” Vasquez said. “… I think Kevin Willard, in terms of passion, in terms of fire, he matches up with our school. Hopefully he does a good job.”

Vasquez believes former players can re-establish the proper personality and passion back into the basketball program. Vasquez thinks former Maryland players could be important pieces to the coaching staff, but none of Willard’s assistants (Grant Billmeier, David Cox and Tony Skinn) played at Maryland. However, Cox and Skinn have ties to the area.

Still, Vasquez believes that the program should still invite alumni back and constantly have them involved with the team. He was very passionate about involving former players to create a family atmosphere.

“If we’re not going to be there, at least get us involved,” Vasquez said.

It all starts with former head coach Gary Williams, according to Vasquez. Williams coached at Maryland for 22 seasons, posting a 461-252 record and winning the school’s only men’s college hoops championship in 2002. Williams is someone incredibly special to Vasquez, who looks up to his former coach as a “stepdad.”

Vasquez thinks that Williams should be more involved with the basketball program since he was the last coach to have great success at Maryland. Whether Willard can bring the same type of intensity and passion that was present with Williams’ teams remains to be seen. But in the meantime, Vasquez wants to make sure that Maryland basketball alumni get more involved, especially himself.

“I want Maryland back on the map, that’s the biggest thing,” Vasquez said. “I help a lot of my people. My people can wait right now. I want to be more involved with the school that gave me a chance to be who I am as of right now.”

For more from Vasquez, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics