The list of players and colleagues that former Maryland head coach Gary Williams thanked during his Hall of Fame speech on Friday night in Springfield, Mass., was long.
But there was one player with whom Williams shared a more personal bond -- former Terrapin point guard Greivis Vasquez.
The now-NBA veteran played under Williams for four seasons in College Park, winning the ACC Player of the Year award and earning second team All-American honors in 2010.
Vasquez’s praise and thanks for Williams is well-documented, including comments he made saying that the entire country of Venezuela was grateful for his contributions to the game following the announcement that his former coach would officially become a hall of famer.
“You know, Greivis and I, we got along really well,” Williams said at the podium on Friday. “A lot of people thought we were both crazy.”
Williams went on to talk about Vasquez winning the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award in 2010, which meant a great deal to the coach, he explained, because of the role Cousy played in his early basketball career.
Vasquez thanked Williams and explained more about their relationship during a tribute video that preceded the coach’s speech on NBATV Friday.
“I wasn’t a McDonald’s All-American. I wasn’t a high-profile player,” Vasquez said. “I was nobody.
“He made me believe, hey, if you outwork players, if you outsmart players, you’re going to be not only great in college, you’re going to be a solid player in the NBA.”
Vasquez signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Toronto Raptors this offseason. So perhaps Williams was right.