Thoughts Before the Big Game

Greetings Terps Fans!

Tonight will mark the last time Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milborne and Eric Hayes take the court Comcast Center for the Maryland Terrapins. They are leading the Terps against the Duke Blue Devils with a share of the ACC regular season at stake. I cannot imagine a potentially better send off for these guys tonight. These three have put in four VERY hard years of work for this final curtain call in College Park. These three deserve all the praise they will get tonight as they have provided some very memorable moments, especially over the past two seasons. Who can forget the HUGE win over UNC last year and the pretty impressive run through the ACC Tournament beating two teams that had a big size advantage over the Terps. Of course, we can't forget GV scoring 2000 points and now sitting third all time in Terps scoring history. We don't have to remember the home losses to Morgan and American however...

Vasquez gets most of the attention because of the his perceived heelish (bad guy for non-wrestling marks) character and incredible playing ability. Vasquez will taunt opposing crowds and even the home fans (see the Morgan State home loss last year) but he brings ability, guts, heart, and energy when he steps onto the court. Yes, he puts up shots that will make you SCREAM but his competitive nature just wills him to be better each and every game. He will have a game like the first against Clemson this season but the very next game he will play like a man possessed and score 20+ can come close to a triple double. An example of this is his monster game against Carolina where he almost matched his triple double from last year.

Sometimes lost in this is the steady contributions of his fellow seniors. Hayes constantly leads the ACC in free throw percentage and he always has the ability to knock down a 3 when needed. This year, he also has been more aggressive and driving to the basket. Hayes gets the comparisons to Steve Blake but I think you can also compare him to Terrell Stokes. Stokes' senior year showed that he was willing to do anything for the team. He didn't try to score so he could allow guys like Lonny Baxter, Terrance Morris, and Juan Dixon shine. Hayes handles the point and defers to Vasquez. When Hayes' number is called, he delivers and helps keep the Terps winning.

Milbourne has played out of position taking PF duties when he is more of a natural SF. He is constantly guarding bigger opponents but is not a defensive liability. He averages 1.3 blocks a game and can give you 12 points a game as well. Milbounre was worked very hard on his shot and he is another guy overlooked by the accomplishments of Vasquez.

Even if the Terps fall short tonight, they already have a first round bye in the ACC Tournament (an MD first since the tournament expanded) and are a lock for the NCAA Tournament. The Terps are peaking at the right time and seem poised to make a deep run in both Tournaments this year. They have provided incredible memories for all of the Terp faithful. We should all salute them tonight and for the remainder of this season.

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