Posts Tagged 'Gary Williams'

Time For Trembley To Go

Ok let me preface this little rant by saying that I rarely call for a coach to be fired. To me it just doesn’t make much sense. I usually defend the coaches of my local teams tooth and nail. I can’t explain it, maybe it’s because I would want the same from my fan-base if I were in the position of leading a team.

A few local examples have been former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick and current University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Gary Williams.

I defended Billick because I liked his attitude and because he brought the city of Baltimore a championship. Many did not like his attitude, he rubbed people the wrong way. People didn’t like that he was an “offensive guru” and couldn’t improve the offense of a team built on defense. But he was unique. He always defended his players even if it meant offending the media. He didn’t care what others outside the team thought, he just wanted to win. I admired that about him.

And I defend Gary Williams, every season it seems like, because a monitory of Terp “fans” are clueless and want him out. I defend Mr. Williams because he is Maryland basketball (with all due respect to the likes of Lefty Driesell and the late Len Bias). He took over a program that was having a hard time recovering from the whole Bias incident, and went on to win a national title in 2002. He has always done more with less talent compared to the Duke’s and the UNC’s. Just like Billick was, Gary is a players coach. Gary is a hard worker, a grinder. You always hear about how hard his guys play for him. They do it because they know he has their back and he believes in them.

I really could go all day talking about how great Gary is and how moronic it is to ask for him to be fired, but I’ll save that for another day. This post is about Orioles manager Dave Trembley.

For a while I’ve always taken his Trembley’s side, given him the benefit of the doubt. After all, he is managing the Orioles.

Last year the Orioles had more than their fair share of base-running miscues. My dad, whom I always vent my Oriole frustrations to, blamed it on Trembley. He said there are some things you cannot control: things like whether the guys are hitting well, or whether pitchers are throwing strikes. But mental lapses on the base paths? He put that one on Trembley and said he should be gone. I wasn’t as ready to cut him loose.

NOW I AM.

As of this morning the Orioles are 2-14. A civic embarrassment. They have lost every series they have played so far in this young season, including three sweeps. They have the worst record in the major leagues. It really is unbelievable.

The final straw for me was Tuesday evening. In the second inning Julio Lugo grounded to short and jogged is way down the first base line and was out easily (See my piece on Derek Jeter). That isn’t Dave Trembley’s fault. It was Lugo’s decision to do that. However I was waiting for Dave to chew him out on the bench or even take him out of the lineup, because that is not how you play that game. That is NOT the Oriole Way. Instead we got nothing…absolutely nothing. Trembley sat there, stone faced, and the game went on. Oh and the team lost…AGAIN!

Hold all the closed-door meetings you want, Dave. But I need to see that you care. The fans want a manager who has pride. I need to know that during a game it bothers you that one of your guys isn’t giving 100%. Cause you know what? It’s a reflection of YOU when that’s happening. I’m not a major leaguer. But if I was and I knew my manager was going to humiliate me and remove me from the game like it’s freaking little league, maybe I’d give 100%. As if being paid $9.25 million (Lugo’s 2010 salary) isn’t enough of an incentive to give it your all.

Yesterday when asked about the fans calling for Dave’s head, right fielder Nick Markakis said, “I don’t think you can blame Trembley, we’re the ones out there pitching and hitting. I think he’s done a good job overall. There’s only so much a manager can do. The rest of it is up to the players. If you’re going to point fingers, you can put it on my shoulders. I’m not swinging the bat the way I’d like to.”

God bless Nick, he’s my favorite Oriole, but what else can he say. It’s not like he’s gonna blame his boss. I feel bad for him because he has to answer these questions in the first place. All the guy wants to do is play ball.

Why was Mr. Trembley brought back for 2010? And why do I have a feeling it is going to take a while before his time as the O’s skipper is up? Earlier this week WNST’s Nestor Aparicio made an interesting point that I keep thinking about. He noted that president of Orioles baseball operations Andy MacPhail is most likely in no hurry to can Trembley because as soon as the manager is fired, blame for the losing will turn to him. Because whoever the next guy is, will be MacPhail’s guy. That could be stretch, but it makes sense to me and very well could be true.

So we shall wait and see. I’m horrible at predictions, but I’m going to say his days are numbered. I’d be shocked if he was still in charge by the All-Star break.

There you have it. I’m now on the ever-growing “Fire Trembley” bandwagon. And you know what? I’m happy I am.

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A Look Back: Greivis Vasquez

How do I begin to describe this young man??

It keeping with the theme of the other two posts of Hayes and Milbourne, I’ll describe him the way he was introduced for four years at Comcast Center…a 6’6″ guard…from Caracas, Venezuela…#21…Greivis Vasquez!!

I’ve seen countless nicknames for him. Tim Brando called him the Vivacious Venezuelan. Others have called him the Venezuelan sensation. There are signs and posters that say VIVA VASQUEZ.

Whatever you call him, you have to respect his game and the mark he left on the Maryland basketball program. Let’s take a look.

It was evident from his freshman year that Vasquez had very real talent. He was an extension of coach Gary Williams while on the floor: Emotional, passionate, and hard-working. At times he took ill-advised shots and made careless turnovers, which was a cause of concern for some. But he contributed a great deal as a freshman and helped Maryland reach the second round of the NCAA tournament.

In his sophomore year he increased his numbers across the board in rebounds, points, and assists. However his turnovers per game nearly doubled and the inconsistent Terps failed to make the Big Dance.

In Vasquez’s junior year, he once again put up very solid numbers. Although the team fell to Duke three times, including a 40 point loss in Durham, the high point of the season came on Feb. 21, 2009.

Facing the third ranked (and eventual National Champion) UNC Tar Heels, Greivis placed the team on his back and put up one of the most impressive single game performances in school history. He dropped 35 points, grabbed 11 boards, and had 10 assists: The first Maryland triple-double since 1987.

Maryland went on the reach the second round the NCAA’s once again. But just like in his freshman year, Vasquez couldn’t do enough as a talent filled Memphis squad rolled over the Terps 89-70.

There was much speculation as to whether or not he would forgo his senior year and turn pro. I inaccurately predicted (see last paragraph) that he would go pro. It seemed inevitable. There had been some tension between him and the fans earlier in the season…and if you are good enough to go professional, why wouldn’t you?

Vasquez went to a few pre-draft workouts to see how he stacked up against the competition and how high he might get picked. He never signed an agent which meant he was still eligible to come back and play his senior season if he wanted to. And once the workouts were over, that is exactly what happened. There would be a senior year for Mr. Vasquez after all.

And what a senior year it was. In averaging 19.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg, he never scored below 10 points in any of the team’s conference games. He led the team to seven consecutive victories to close out the season including two memorable games: at Virginia Tech and senior night vs. Duke.

The game at Blacksburg was wild for many reasons. The start time of the game was delayed nearly three hours because a beer truck ran over a fire hydrant and broke a water main. The game itself was thrilling. Back and forth with numerous ties and lead changes in the second half. It took two overtime periods to decide this one. But the Terps emerged victorious behind a career high 41 points from Vasquez.

The Duke game was big as always because Maryland fans just despise the Blue Devils. But for the first time in almost a decade, the stakes were high…a share of the regular season ACC title was on the line. Just like the Tech game, this one had a great flow. Back and forth it went in the second half. And with 39 seconds left to play, with his team up by two, Vasquez hit an extremely difficult fall away runner that helped seal the win for Maryland.

Just like in ’07 and 09′, the Terrapins’ 2010 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tourney. Against Michigan State, Vasquez put the Terps up by one with 6 seconds to play, but a buzzer beater by the Spartans’ Korie Lucious ended Greivis’ season, and his career.

The career numbers for Vasquez are quite amazing. He is the first Maryland player to ever record 500 rebounds and 500 assists and the only player in ACC history to amass 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, and 600 assists. In his final game he surpassed the late Len Bias as the Terrapins second leading scorer all-time. Only Juan Dixon compiled more career points.

Greivis Vasquez…A Terrapin Forever…Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Look Back: Eric Hayes

Now we take a look back at the career of…a 6’4″ guard…from Woodbridge, Virginia…#5…Eric Hayes!!

Hayes got a very good amount of playing time as a freshman, averaging just under 23½ per game. He seemed to fit into Gary Williams system quite well, rarely turning the ball over and running solid offense.

He was almost automatic from the foul line…finishing his career as the Terrapins all-time leader in free throw percentage at 86.9%. In his four years he never missed more than 10 free throw attempts in any season.

Hayes was just as dangerous from beyond the arc. His career three-point shooting percentage was a very respectable 40%. And his 196 three pointers ranks him fourth in school history.

In dishing out 513 career assists, he ranks sixth on Maryland’s all-time list.

I will always remember Hayes’ quiet demeanor and that same expression on his face all the time, no matter what the score or situation.

What a tremendous playmaker…Thank you Eric Hayes!!!!!!!!

Memphis 89 – Maryland 70

Mar. 21, 2009, 6:44 PM

Maryland’s season has officially come to an end. The high flying Tigers from Memphis outplayed the Terps in every possible way on Saturday afternoon, and they move on to face the winner of Sunday’s Missouri-Marquette game.

-The way Memphis shot the three-ball in the first half, that was the worst imaginable start MD. By halftime, the Tigers were 8 of 11 from beyond the arc. From the 4:52 mark in the first half to 1:24, they were 5 of 5 from downtown.

-Memphis did cool down eventually, but the Terps didn’t play their game at all. They panicked and played like a team who didn’t know what to do down by 20. They were careless with the ball and played lousy defense.

-It would have been interesting to see how Maryland would have fared if they had jumped out to an early lead. But Memphis took control of the game very early and never looked back. They played like a team wanting to make a statement.

-I think it speaks volumes, the way that the kids played for Gary throughout the season. Whether it was a win or a loss, the players always had Gary’s back and played their hearts out for him him. Forget the media and the fans who moan and complain. For the players to give everything they have, that’s all you can ask for from a team.

-I’m not sure if we have seen Greivis Vasquez play his last game as a Terrapin. I wouldn’t be suprised if he tries to go pro. There is a chance he will return, but my gut says that his days as a Terp are over.

Tickets Punched, UMD 75 – WAKE 64

Mar. 13, 2009, 9:30 PM

When the Maryland Terps last played Wake Forest, they played as well as you could play without actually winning the game. Dave Neal had a spectacular game on his senior night and for most of the game it looked like Maryland had the Demon Deacons’ number. But thanks to 18 offensive rebounds from Wake, it turned out to be another frustrating collapse by Gary Williams’ squad.

Fast forward to tonight’s ACC Tournament Quarterfinal game. Behind the leadership of Greivis Vasquez, Maryland out hustled Wake and came out on top 75-64. With the win, Maryland pretty much guaranteed themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament

Here are some statistics that jump out at me immediately: Maryland from the field, 44%. Wake, 30%. Free Throws: Maryland shot 81% while Wake shot 71 %. And finally the most staggering of numbers: The Demon Deacons were 3-25 from beyond the arc. That’s 12%!! Maryland on the other hand shot a cool 38%.

So statistically speaking, Maryland won easily. And that is fine. But I was really impressed with the effort from the whole team. Mosely, Hayes, Neal, Milbourne. They all played smart basketball.

Next up for the Terps will be the winner of the Duke/Boston College game

Terps secure first round win over N.C. State

Mar. 12, 2009, 9:59 PM

All season the Maryland Terrapins have played their best basketball when their backs have been up against the wall. Tonight’s opening round game against N.C. State in the ACC Tournament was no different.

Eric Hayes led the Terps in scoring with a career high 21 points, thanks to his five 3-pointers. Greivis Vasquez played unselfish basketball, dishing out ten assists while scoring 17 points and only turning the ball over two times.

The Wolfpack got out to a nice lead early in the game, leading by 13 at one point in the first half. But Hayes was able to knock down three 3-pointers to cut into the lead. The two teams were tied at halftime.

In the 2nd half, there were numerous ties and lead changes. This back and forth battle continued until freshman Sean Mosely made a lay-up with 3:52 remaining to give the Terps a 63-62 lead. They never looked back. That basket was the beginning of an 11-0 Maryland run in which the Wolfpack were unable to score for over three minutes.

With the victory Maryland moves on the the ACC Quarterfinals where they will face the number two seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons Friday evening. The game can be seen on RAYCOM Sports in ACC Markets and ESPN2 nationally.


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