After winning share of ACC title, spotlight shines on Terps

Maryland moves up to No. 19 in AP poll

ACC honors Vasquez, J. Williams

March 09, 2010|By Jeff Barker |

Maryland moved up Monday to No. 19 in the Associated Press Top 25 - the team's highest ranking this season - and learned that senior guard Greivis Vasquez has become the first Terrapin in seven years to be named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference first team.

Maryland, riding a seven-game winning streak heading into this week's ACC tournament, also placed power forward Jordan Williams - fourth in the ACC in rebounding at 8.3 per game - on the conference All-Rookie Team.

A pair of bigger individual prizes looms this afternoon. The conference is expected to announce the ACC's Player of the Year, as well as Coach of the Year.

Vasquez is in the running for top player along with Duke senior guard Jon Scheyer and Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney (Towson Catholic).

The competition is of keen interest to Maryland fans because of the nature of the rivalry with No. 4 Duke. Some Terps fans have taunted Scheyer - occasionally chanting obscenities - when Duke has visited Comcast Center the past few seasons.

Vasquez is averaging 19.6 points and 6.3 assists per game. Scheyer averages 18.9 points and 5.2 assists. In conference games only, Vasquez's numbers are 22.1 and 6.7, compared with Scheyer's 18.7 and 4.6.

Vasquez has said he embraces individual honors but that his priority is for Maryland to win games and for the team to perform well in the postseason. The Terps will face the winner of the Georgia Tech-North Carolina game in the ACC tournament Friday in Greensboro, N.C.

"I want to make sure people understand," Vasquez said recently. He said he was seeking the "the spotlight of leading the team to victory, not the spotlight for me to score 50 points and be a hero."

Vasquez was All-ACC second team the past two seasons. The last Terp to make first team until Monday was point guard Steve Blake in 2002-03.

Maryland has not had a Player of the Year since Juan Dixon in 2001-02. Joe Smith won it before that in 1994-95.

Maryland's Gary Williams last won ACC Coach of the Year in the national championship season of 2001-02.

He helped Maryland improve from 7-9 in the conference last season to 13-3 this season - the same ACC mark as Duke.

Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, whose Blue Devils went undefeated at home, is also certainly a Coach of the Year candidate.

Maryland did not practice Sunday or Monday after winning at Virginia on Saturday. The Terps, who will resume practice today, were No. 22 in the AP poll last week. That was before an emotional victory at Comcast Center over Duke on Wednesday night.

Asked about national rankings Monday, Gary Williams replied that such recognition was helpful but not critical to the program's success.

"This is good, the attention that you get," Williams said. "But at the same time, we kind of gear itself toward getting into this position.

"When you win a national championship, that doesn't go away quickly. People remember that. We've won games in the NCAA tournament two of the last three years, so we're recognized nationally."

final ACC standings
Conf. OverallTeam W-L W-LDuke 13-3 26-5Maryland 13-3 23-7 Florida State10-622-8Virginia Tech 10-6 23-7Wake Forest9-719-9Clemson 9-7 21-9Georgia Tech 7-9 19-11Boston College 6-10 15-15Virginia 5-11 14-15North Carolina 5-11 16-15North Carolina State5-1117-14Miami 4-12 18-12

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