Vasquez In Vegas

By Josh Herwitt - August 22, 2007

One of the reasons Maryland won its last seven regular season games in 2006, including back-to-back over North Carolina and Duke, and garnered a No. 4 seed heading into the NCAA Tournament was due to the maturity that Greivis Vasquez showed as just a freshman. Last season in 34 games, the 6-foot-5 Venezuelan averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds while leading the Terrapins in assists at 4.6 per contest -- good for sixth-best in the ACC.

Now he's looking to produce those kind of results for his country's team against the likes of Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire of Team USA. Vazquez will have that chance Wednesday night at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championships in Las Vegas as the Venezuelan national team faces the Americans in the tournament's opening game before meeting Brazil Friday night and finishing up the preliminary round Sunday against the Virgin Islands.

The quarterfinal round is set for Aug. 27 with the bronze and gold medal games to be played Labor Day Weekend on Sept. 2.

New Dandy At Vandy

After upsetting Washington State in the NCAA Tournament to reach the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history, Vanderbilt won't be reaping the rewards of Derrick Byers, now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

But the Commodores are welcoming a new center to Nashville in 6-foot-11, 245-pound Nigerian Festus Ezeli, who on Wednesday signed scholarship papers to become the sixth freshman for Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings.

"He jumps well, he's really long and has a strong defensive presence," Stallings said on Vanderbilt's athletic site. "He's got the hands and the touch to be a good offensive player. We are very pleased to have him join our program."

Ezeli, who graduated from high school at the age of 14, will be joining a talented Class of 2011 at Vanderbilt that already includes point guard Keegan Bell, forward Andre Walker and center Andrew Ogilvy.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 03:30 PM on August 22, 2007

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