Monday, February 27, 2012

Vasquez > Lin

After checking in on Steve Blake and Chris Wilcox over the weekend, I hadn't planned on writing anything about Greivis Vasquez (2006-10), whom I have already written about a lot recently. (Well, two stories in one month is a lot by this blog's intermittent posting standards.)

But I can't resist linking to this piece saying that Vasquez will be better than Jeremy Lin in the long run (Rant Sports):
New York is “the” market, especially for sports. Therefore, Vasquez has received no love as he plays in the lowly state of Louisiana, not typically revered as a basketball haven. Regardless, slowly and surely the young Maryland product is making a name for himself in the league. If it wasn’t for Jeremy Lin taking over the league on February 4, there is no doubt that Vasquez’ recent accomplishments would be higher on the nation’s radar. [...]

In 12 games since Vasquez has begun starting for the Hornets, he is averaging 13 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. Even when Jack returned to the team, Vasquez has remained a starting guard. The most telling sign that Vasquez will be better than Lin over time is the turnovers, in which Greivis is averaging only three per night, opposed to Lin and his 7.5 turnovers a game (most in the league).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Checking Up On Chris Wilcox

Yesterday, I checked in on how Steve Blake's season was progressing. Today, we return to the East Coast to look at Chris Wilcox (2000-02).

Wilcox has had some nagging injury trouble too this season, but he's taken advantage of other injuries on the Boston Celtics to get more playing time and raise the level of his game (Taunton Gazette):
After signing a one-year deal with the Celtics for the mid-level exception of $3 million in December, Wilcox missed nine of the first 16 games with injuries and was ineffective when he did get on the court. [...]

Since that shaky start, though, Wilcox has given the Celtics consistency off the bench and in the two games that he started. In nine February games, the 6-foot-10 center/forward is averaging 7.2 points and 5.2 rebounds while making 28 of 44 shots. [...]

Wilcox has scored in double figures three times this month and had back-to-back nine-rebound outings against the Chicago Bulls and the Pistons last week.

Where Wilcox, who is shooting 63 percent, has been effective on offense is in the fast-break game. On an aging team, he has given speedy point guard Rajon Rondo an option in transition.

It's also helping Wilcox mentally to be on a team with a winning attitude (Detroit News):
Since landing in Boston, Wilcox is playing on a team with championship aspirations for the first time in his career. He will play in the playoffs for the first time. He noticed a difference from the moment he landed in Bean town.

"Everything's totally different, especially the expectations," Wilcox said. "All it's about is winning. I mean, the history of the franchise is all over the building. Every time you go somewhere you have a reminder of what you're doing."

(Of course, having said that, Wilcox was sidelined again this week with a right adductor strain.)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Checking Up On Steve Blake

This season, I have written a few times about Greivis Vasquez and Jordan Williams, but I wanted to catch up with the other two Terps in the NBA this weekend, starting today with Steve Blake (1999-2003). (Come back tomorrow for Chris Wilcox.)

Blake has had some injury troubles this month, missing 13 games for the Los Angeles Lakers. But now he's back, and now that he's able to get back into his conditioning routine, he's starting to lift his team with better shooting and ball movement (LA Times):
"When we knock down three-point shots, we're a completely different team," Kobe Bryant said. "It makes us a very dangerous team. [Blake's] a great shooter and floor general. We missed him tremendously since he was out."

Now that he's back, Blake can thank his improved rhythm and conditioning for restoring his shooting stroke.

"It's made a big difference," he said. "You're able to shoot when you're tired and make passes and react. It's hard to do that when your legs are gone. All that stuff starts to come back to you and you're able to pick it up as you go.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eric Hayes Signs with NBA D-League's Canton Charge

Eric Hayes (2006-10) has been signed by the NBA D-League's Canton Charge. Here's an excerpt from the team's press release:
The Canton Charge announced that they have claimed guard Eric Hayes (6-4, 180, Maryland) via the available player pool. Hayes was a four-year letterman at the University of Maryland who most recently was with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo of the Spanish league.

In 23 games with Leche Rio Breogan Lugo in 2010-2011, Hayes averaged 8.9 points on .458 shooting with 1.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.8 steals in 22.3 minutes per game. He also had a stint in the NBA Summer League with the Washington Wizards in 2010.

(Thanks to @FakeKvinAndrson and @Ekhayes5 himself for breaking the news to Terp fans on Twitter. Go follow them both.)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Drew Nicholas and Milan Part Ways

In the midst of the Italian and Euroleague seasons, Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) and his team, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan, are parting ways. Here's the Euroleague press release:
EA7 Emporio Armani has reached an agreement with shooting guard Drew Nicholas to terminate his contract, the club announced Tuesday. Nicholas, a two-time Euroleague champion and a former Alphonso Ford Top Scoring trophy winner with Benetton Treviso, averaged 7.4 points and 1.7 assists in 14 Euroleague games this season, hitting just 36 of 119 shots. Nicholas left the club in the same week that his team will travel to Athens, Greece, to face his former team Panathinaikos, with whom he won the Euroleague title in 2009 and 2011. Milano has thanked Nicholas for his work in the months he spent with the club and wished him luck in the rest of his basketball career. Milan won its first Top 16 game in Week 4, but retains mathematical chances to reach the playoffs if it can win its last two games. Nicholas was tied for fifth in three-pointers in the Top 16 with 8 made in 20 attempts through four games. He ranks seventh all-time with 276 three-pointers made in his seven-season Euroleague career with Benetton, Efes Pilsen, Panathinaikos and Milan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Johnny Rhodes Honored at Comcast Center

Tonight before the Miami game, Johnny Rhodes (1992-96) had his #15 banner unfurled in the Comcast Center rafters (joining Ernie Graham, honored last week). In his halftime interview, he called it one of the greatest honors of his life. Here's the Baltimore Sun's Don Markus writing about Rhodes' career:
If [Ernie] Graham was known for his ability to score, Rhodes was known for doing just about everything. Aside from his school record of 344 steals that still stands, Rhodes is now 10th in scoring (1,743 points) and assists (344). He is also an impressive 15th in rebounding (704), the best ever for a Maryland guard. [...]

Having received his undergraduate degree in art a couple of years ago, Rhodes owns his own local construction company. Though he never made the NBA – held back mostly by an inconsistent outside shot - Rhodes said that not reaching that dream “strengthened me in other areas in my life.”
Rhodes was also named to the 2012 ACC Tournament Legends Team (an annual line-up honoring one player from each ACC school during the ACC tournament). Rhodes 344 steals are not just a Maryland record, but also the ACC career record. He also has the ACC record for steals per game for his career (2.82), steals in a single season (110 in 1995-96), and steals per game for a single season (3.7 in 1995-96).

I'm particularly happy to see his number up there, since I also went to Maryland the same four years (1992-96) and he was one of my favorite players during my tour of duty in the Cole Field House student section.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Greivis Vasquez Ends "Lin-sanity"

The New York Knicks' streak of wins since the dawn of the Jeremy Lin era ended last night, with the New Orleans Hornets, and Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) played a big role in the victory. From the Baltimore Sun:
Nobody is saying Vasquez was the reason the heretofore woeful but suddenly hot Hornets beat a Knicks team that had won seven straight games with Lin as its newfound star, but Vasquez certainly played his part. Along with a 15-point, 11-assist performance in his team’s 89-85 win at Madison Square Garden, Vasquez’s defense was a big factor in Lin’s nine turnovers -- the most by any player in the NBA this season. [...]

For the first month, he was playing about 20 minutes a game and averaging about six points and three assists, but when Jack was injured last month, Vasquez took over a team in the midst of a horrendous season and played admirably. In the past nine games, he is averaging nearly 13 points and a little more than eight assists. He has three double doubles and missed two others by an assist.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Greivis Vasquez Picking Up the Slack in New Orleans

With injuries to the backcourt ravaging the New Orleans Hornets' roster, the beneficiary has been Greivis Vasquez (2006-10), and he's making the most of his extra playing time. Here's what Sports Illustrated has to say about Vasquez:
With Eric Gordon's timetable for return just keeps getting pushed out further and further. With New Orleans at the bottom of the Western Conference, there's no real rush to get Gordon back on the court. He's the future of the franchise, so in the meantime, Vasquez has been given the chance to show what he can do. He's responded to his starting role and 30-plus minutes per game with double-digit scoring, big assists and pretty decent rebounding for a guard. It doesn't hurt that he's also making almost a three a game while getting more than one steal. Perhaps he has four arms like his nickname-sake, General Grievous.

[Jarrett] Jack is injured, [...] He'll be back in the starting lineup when he comes back (currently day-to-day), but Vasquez is playing well enough that he might be able to fill Gordon's vacation SG position.

In the last five games, Vasquez is averaging 16 points and 8 assists in 32 minutes per game, while starting the last three games. In the Hornets' most recent game, Vasquez played 40 minutes and led the team with 20 points and 9 assists.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Jordan Williams Back With the Nets

Jordan Williams (2009-11) is back in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets after his two week stint in the NBA D-League with the Springfield Armor. From InsideHoops:
The New Jersey Nets have recalled rookie forward Jordan Williams from the Springfield Armor, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.

Williams appeared in six games with the Armor, all starts, and averaged 10.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 32 minutes. He shot .451 (23-51) from the field and .531 (17-32) from the line. He tallied three double-doubles.
In his first game back with the team, Jordan scored 9 points and 8 rebounds in a win over the Pistons for Team Williams... err.. the Nets, who dressed only 8 players for the game due to injuries and illnesses. Four players named Williams combined for 55 of New Jersey's 99 points.