My gut says that you haven't seen the last of Greivis Vasquez in a Maryland uniform.

Maryland sent out a release today confirming what Vasquez told us all last month: He's going to test the NBA draft waters. He won't be getting an agent, though, so if he doesn't like what he hears -- rather, if NBA scouts don't like what they see -- Vasquez can return to the Terps for a senior year.

Just as it's wise for Vasquez to familiarize himself with the process and see where he stands, the educated guess is it'll be just as wise for Vasquez to return to the Terps.


As it stands right now, Vasquez looks like a second-round pick. Some mocks say he could be a late first-rounder, but everything I hear suggests that might be optimistic. For Vasquez to leave school -- for him to eventually sign with an agent -- he needs to hear better than "maybe a late first-rounder." In the NBA, first-rounders get a two-year guaranteed contract; second-rounders get nothing. Their rights are owned by a team, but that team doesn't have to sign the second-round pick or give him a thing, if they don't feel like it.

Vasquez is somewhat of a wild card. As teams check him out, they'll find that he has an OK outside shot but doesn't shoot for a great percentage. He can be exciting and can create plays, but his passing is suspect and his decision-making ability spotty. He can be a good ball-handler -- someone who can grow into a 1 or a 2 -- but he doesn't always take care of the ball and can be turnover prone. Plus, he allows his emotions get the better of him at key moments. In games, he's especially inconsistent. Vasquez is at his best when the offense revolves around him, and he's not good enough at this point to be that person at the next level. To be effective in 2009-10, he'd have prove that he can defend quicker and more athletic guards and limit his turnovers, neither of which he's shown in three years at Maryland.

His best bet is returning to school, gaining a bit of muscle and size and playing with a bit more discipline as a senior. While his versatility is generally good, he also has to make it clear to NBA teams how exactly he'd contribute.

[It's worth noting that Vasquez has faced professional-quality competition before. He was on the Venezuelan team at the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship, which was an Olympic qualifier. Among the eight teams, he ranked 25th in scoring, averaging 12.1 points and shooting 38.8 percent from the field over the course of eight games. He scored more than guys like Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard, for whatever that's worth. And in Venezuela's game against the U.S. team of NBA stars -- which the Americans won 112-69 -- Vasquez led his team with 12 points. He was just 3-of-11 from the field, though, and had four turnovers and only two assists.]

But let's say Vasquez improves his stock in the next 1 1/2 months and somehow makes himself into a sure-fire mid-to-late first-round pick. It still might be wise to spend one more year in college. Because of the rookie salary scale, the No. 15 and the No. 25 pick are separated by about a half-million dollars. And that's just in season 1.

One more year of seasoning, Vasquez could work on the things he needs to improve upon, cash a bigger paycheck and could potentially enter the league as a player who's ready to contribute, not simply take up space on the bench.

Photo: Karl Merton Ferron / Sun