Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Washington's Moment

WashingtonPost:
Business in Washington is not prone to expand in a straight line. Rather, it has grown in a series of great bursts.

There was the 1980s defense buildup, then a telecom and Internet boom in the 1990s, and an influx of dollars for homeland security in the 2000s. Each of these waves transformed business in the region, upending the corporate landscape and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, all the while laying the groundwork for the next boom.

The pieces are now in place for the next great burst of business in Washington. There is a new wave of government activism underway, and with it, new opportunities for the private sector: Cutting down on paperwork in the health-care system, developing greener energy supplies, making information more secure, overhauling education. And following the last three booms, Washington has more skilled workers and capacity for businesses to grow than ever -- including hundreds of now-seasoned executives who have built companies, and are ready to do it again.

"When you're in a period of change like this, that's what creates entrepreneurial opportunities," said Mark Ein, chief executive of Venturehouse Group, the District-based venture firm.

The winners in the Washington economy of the 2010s will likely be the firms that can harness that competitive advantage -- at its core, the region's workforce -- to answer the challenges that the Obama administration and Congress are now focusing on, business leaders said.

Health Care System
Companies in the region are particularly well positioned to play a major role in improving the efficiency of the health-care system, trying to replace the immense paperwork in doctors' offices and hospitals with electronic databases. That is a major focus of the Obama administration; the stimulus bill passed in February 2009 included $19 billion for such efforts, and the health-care overhaul enacted last month included several programs meant to streamline the delivery of medical services.

The main advantage of Washington area companies and entrepreneurs in pursuing those opportunities is that the work is not all that dissimilar from work done for government agencies. The databases involved are enormous, the privacy and security concerns large, and the sheer complexity of the projects would tax workers in most of the country.

"The pure engineering talent to correctly create products like this are a tough resource to get outside this region and a handful of others in the U.S.," said Joseph Sander, chief executive of Harmony Information Systems, a Reston-based firm that provides software to help state and local governments manage care for the elderly. "We've matured as a region in the last few years, transformed into a region with a lot of capability for general IT applications."

Information Advantage
Another government-influenced area where the Washington region has natural advantages is information security. As surely as military investments in the last century led to civilian uses -- the Boeing 707 was a more comfortable version of a plane built for the Air Force, after all -- so it is with the technology built to protect the U.S. government's computer networks from hackers here and abroad.

"We have some companies that do classified stuff that is going to make its way into the commercial world, and it's breakthrough stuff," said Jack Biddle, a founder of venture capital firm Novak Biddle in Bethesda.

Young companies in the security arena have a built-in advantage that some other industries don't have: While venture capital has dried up around the country amid the recession, financial crisis and a decade of poor returns, the government has taken a more active role funding early-stage companies, including through such institutions as In-Q-Tel, the CIA's venture capital arm.

Education Leader
A third area of government-encouraged innovation that is creating business opportunity in Washington is education. There was $650 million in last year's stimulus act for state educational technology grants, part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to encourage schools, colleges, and universities around the country to find ways that technology can make education more effective and affordable.

The Washington region, as it happens, already has some leading companies in those areas, notably Blackboard, the District company that provides software for education, especially at colleges and universities, and K-12, a Herndon firm that sells instructional software for younger students.

"Now you've got 3,000 young entrepreneurial technologists here starting companies," said Biddle, one of the early investors in Blackboard, which is now publicly traded. Former Blackboard executives have gone on to launch a slew of smaller education-oriented companies.

Green Energy
The picture is more muddy when it comes to another area in which the government is placing new emphasis, green energy. Much of the innovation that needs to happen if the nation is to reduce its carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels is in industries that are not typically headquartered in the greater Washington area. There may be more opportunity in the information-technology-oriented elements of making the nation more energy efficient, such as smart grid technology. There are a handful of local examples, including Gridpoint, an Arlington firm that develops software for solar panels and electric vehicles, and work on energy efficiency at Exxon's large office in Fairfax.

Wherever opportunities arise, veteran executives in the region describe a Washington that is better poised to seize them than in decades past. While the dot-com boom and bust of the late 1990s left in its wake lots of empty office buildings and failed business plans, it also had a more positive legacy.

That period also left an entrepreneurial infrastructure in Washington. There are now thousands of sales and marketing executives, lawyers, financiers, headhunters and others who are experienced at helping build companies -- not just toil in a giant defense contractor or government agency.

World Cup Rankings

FIFA has released the latest world rankings:

Brazil skipped over Spain for the No. 1 position,
Portugal passed Netherlands for the third slot,
England dropped a spot to No. 8 and the
U.S. rose to No. 14 (three ahead of CONCACAF nemesis Mexico).

Besides group favorite England, the Americans' World Cup opponents are
Slovenia, ranked 23rd, and Algeria, ranked 31st.

More information:
Full Rankings List
World Cup Matches


P.S. Nike just released the new U.S. Men's National Team home jersey - modeled after the 1950 World Cup uniform - in which they defeated England 1-0 in one of the biggest upsets in the history of soccer.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spotlight: Kurt Cobain's Death

Wiki:
During the last years of his life, Kurt Cobain struggled with heroin addiction, illness and depression, his fame and public image, as well as the professional and lifelong personal pressures surrounding himself and his wife, musician Courtney Love.

On April 8, 1994, Cobain's body was discovered at his Lake Washington home by an electrician who had arrived to install a security system. It was officially ruled a suicide by a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. Cobain's body had been lying there for days; the coroner's report estimated Cobain to have died on April 5, 1994. A high concentration of heroin and traces of Valium were also found in his body. Kurt had carefully positioned a suicide note so that it could be easily found by staking it to the top of a pile of potting soil.

Bipolar-Lives.com:
The suicide note, addressed to his childhood imaginary friend, said:

To Boddah
Speaking from the tongue of an experienced simpleton who obviously would rather be an emasculated, infantile complain-ee. This note should be pretty easy to understand.


All the warnings from the punk rock 101 courses over the years, since my first introduction to the, shall we say, ethics involved with independence and the embracement of your community has proven to be very true. I haven't felt the excitement of listening to as well as creating music along with reading and writing for too many years now. I feel guilty beyond words about these things.


Kurt Cobain in concert before the Kurt Cobain suicide note
For example when we're back stage and the lights go out and the manic roar of the crowds begins., it doesn't affect me the way in which it did for Freddie Mercury, who seemed to love, relish in the love and adoration from the crowd which is something I totally admire and envy. The fact is, I can't fool you, any one of you. It simply isn't fair to you or me. The worst crime I can think of would be to rip people off by faking it and pretending as if I'm having 100% fun. Sometimes I feel as if I should have a punch-in time clock before I walk out on stage. I've tried everything within my power to appreciate it (and I do, God, believe me I do, but it's not enough). I appreciate the fact that I and we have affected and entertained a lot of people. It must be one of those narcissists who only appreciate things when they're gone.


I'm too sensitive. I need to be slightly numb in order to regain the enthusiasms I once had as a child.
On our last 3 tours, I've had a much better appreciation for all the people I've known personally, and as fans of our music, but I still can't get over the frustration, the guilt and empathy I have for everyone. There's good in all of us and I think I simply love people too much, so much that it makes me feel too fucking sad. The sad little, sensitive, unappreciative, Pisces, Jesus man. Why don't you just enjoy it? I don't know!


I have a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy and a daughter who reminds me too much of what i used to be, full of love and joy, kissing every person she meets because everyone is good and will do her no harm. And that terrifies me to the point to where I can barely function. I can't stand the thought of Frances becoming the miserable, self-destructive, death rocker that I've become.
I have it good, very good, and I'm grateful, but since the age of seven, I've become hateful towards all humans in general. Only because it seems so easy for people to get along that have empathy. Only because I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess.


Thank you all from the pit of my burning, nauseous stomach for your letters and concern during the past years. I'm too much of an erratic, moody baby! I don't have the passion anymore, and so remember, it's better to burn out than to fade away.


Peace, love, empathy. Kurt Cobain

Frances and Courtney, I'll be at your altar.
Please keep going Courtney
for Frances
for her life which will be so much happier

without me. I LOVE YOU, I LOVE YOU

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Playoffs Round 1: Montreal

About:
Question: Why are the Montreal Canadiens called the Habs?

Answer: Habs is an abbreviation of "les habitants," the informal name given to the original settlers of New France, dating back to the 17th Century. So it's a natural fit for the The Montreal Canadiens, established in 1909 and marketed as a French-Canadian hockey team.

Having said that, the nickname might have been the result of an error. According to NHL.com, the first man to refer to the team as "the Habs" was Tex Rickard, owner of Madison Square Garden, in 1924. Rickard apparently told a reporter that the "H" on the Canadiens' sweaters was for "Habitants." Not true. The distinctive C-wrapped-around-H logo stands for "Club de Hockey Canadien."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Buy or Rent?

In some once bubbly markets, prices have fallen so far that buying a home appears to be a bargain, based on a New York Times analysis of prices and rents in 54 metropolitan areas. In South Florida, Phoenix and Las Vegas, house prices — relative to rents — are as low as in places that never experienced a bubble, like Indianapolis and St. Louis.

But in a handful of other areas, including San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, Ore., house prices remain significantly higher than they were before the bubble began. People who buy a home in these areas will face higher monthly costs than if they rented, even after taking tax deductions into account. As a result, buyers are effectively betting that prices will rise enough in future years to cover the difference.

The country’s two biggest metropolitan areas, New York and Los Angeles, are a microcosm of today’s more nuanced real estate market. Average house prices across both areas have fallen enough that buying may now be a good deal for many families. Yet there are still significant pockets where renting looks promising — including parts of Manhattan, the New York suburbs and Orange County, Calif.

The buy-versus-rent question is particularly relevant right now. To qualify for an expiring federal tax credit of up to $8,000, home buyers must sign a contract by April 30 and close on the house by June 30. Many economists also expect mortgage rates to rise in coming months.
The Times analysis is based on comparing the costs of buying and renting a similar home, using data from Moody’s Economy.com, a research firm, and from real estate agents. This kind of comparison can never tell someone for sure what the best financial move will be. But it does show whether a buyer will need a big jump in future prices to cover all the costs of owning — including the down payment, closing costs, property taxes, mortgage interest, repairs and co-op fees.

A simple way to do the comparison is to look at something called the rent ratio: the purchase price of a house divided by the annual cost of renting a similar one. The number 20 provides a useful rule of thumb. When you do the math, you discover that a ratio above 20 means you should at least consider renting, especially if you may move again in the next five years or so. When the ratio is well below 20, the case for buying becomes a lot stronger.

More information:
Interative: Buy or Rent Calculator

Slow Economic Recovery

News Alert: U.S. Economy Grew at a 3.2% Annual Rate in First Quarter
8:36 AM EDT Friday, April 30, 2010

The United States economy continued to expand in the firstquarter, but economists cautioned that the pace of growth isstill not nearly fast enough to recover ground lost duringthe recession.

National output grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of3.2 percent last quarter, after growth of 5.6 percent in thefourth quarter of 2009 and 2.2 percent in the third quarter.

--------------------

News Alert: Global recovery stronger than anticipated, IMF says
10:47 AM EDT Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The world economy is rebounding from recession "better than we thought likely" and will expand by more than 4 percent this year, the International Monetary Fund's top economist says.

The United States is projected to grow by 3.1 percent -- better than the 2.3 percent average growth projected by the IMF for the advanced economies.

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News Alert: Chrysler loses $3.8B in second half of 2009, expects to break even this year
07:28 AM EDT Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chrysler Group LLC lost a staggering $3.8 billion from the time it left bankruptcy protection June 10 through the end of last year, but the automaker says its fortunes improved dramatically in the first quarter.

The struggling company, now run by Italy's Fiat Group SpA, cut its net loss to $197 million from January through March and said it posted an operating profit from selling cars and trucks, before interest and taxes.

Moreover, Chrysler said it generated $1.5 billion in cash during the quarter, raising its reserves to $7.4 billion and reducing the likelihood that it will need more government aid. And the company predicted its operations would break even or be slightly profitable this year.

--------------------

News Alert: U.S. retail sales surge in March
08:35 AM EDT Wednesday, April 14, 2010

WASHINGTON - Sales at U.S. retailers rose more strongly than expected in March as consumer stepped up purchases of vehicles and wide range of goods, government data showed on Wednesday, suggesting a broadening of the manufacturing-led economic recovery.

The Commerce Department said total retail sales jumped 1.6 percent, the largest increase since November, from an upwardly revised 0.5 percent rise in February.

Sales in February were previously reported to have gained 0.3 percent.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The True Story Of 4/20

HuffingtonPost:
Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California. It's the number of active chemicals in marijuana. It's teatime in Holland. It has something to do with Hitler's birthday. It's those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied.

The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20th, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon.

The Huffington Post chased the term back to its roots and was able to find it in a lost patch of cannabis in a Point Reyes, California forest. Just as interesting as its origin, it turns out, is how it spread.

It starts with the Dead.

It was Christmas week in Oakland, 1990. Steven Bloom was wandering through The Lot - that timeless gathering of hippies that springs up in the parking lot before every Grateful Dead concert - when a Deadhead handed him a yellow flyer.

"We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais," reads the message, which Bloom dug up and forwarded to the Huffington Post. Bloom, then a reporter for High Times magazine and now the publisher of CelebStoner.com and co-author of Pot Culture, had never heard of "420-ing" before.

The flyer came complete with a 420 back story: "420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late '70s. It started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call, they started using the expression 420 when referring to herb - Let's Go 420, dude!"

Bloom reported his find in the May 1991 issue of High Times, which the magazine found in its archives and provided to the Huffington Post. The story, though, was only partially right.
It had nothing to do with a police code -- though the San Rafael part was dead on. Indeed, a group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos - by virtue of their chosen hang-out spot, a wall outside the school - coined the term in 1971. The Huffington Post spoke with Waldo Steve, Waldo Dave and Dave's older brother, Patrick, and confirmed their full names and identities, which they asked to keep secret for professional reasons.

"I could say to one of my friends, I'd go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, 'Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?' Or, 'Do you have any?' Or, 'Are you stoned right now?' It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it," Steve says. "Our teachers didn't know what we were talking about. Our parents didn't know what we were talking about."

The Waldos never envisioned that pot smokers the world over would celebrate each April 20th as a result of their foray into the Point Reyes forest. The day has managed to become something of a national holiday in the face of official condemnation.

As fortune would have it, the collapse of San Francisco's hippie utopia in the late '60s set the stage. As speed freaks, thugs and con artists took over The Haight, the Grateful Dead picked up and moved to the Marin County hills - just blocks from San Rafael High School.

"Marin Country was kind of ground zero for the counter culture," says Steve.

The Waldos had more than just a geographic connection to the Dead. Mark Waldo's father took care of real estate for the Dead. And Waldo Dave's older brother, Patrick, managed a Dead sideband and was good friends with bassist Phil Lesh. Patrick tells the Huffington Post that he smoked with Lesh on numerous occasions. He couldn't recall if he used the term 420 around him, but guessed that he must have.

The Dead, recalls Waldo Steve, "had this rehearsal hall on Front Street, San Rafael, California, and they used to practice there. So we used to go hang out and listen to them play music and get high while they're practicing for gigs. But I think it's possible my brother Patrick might have spread it through Phil Lesh. And me, too, because I was hanging out with Lesh and his band when they were doing a summer tour my brother was managing."

The band that Patrick managed was called Too Loose To Truck and featured not only Lesh but rock legend David Crosby and acclaimed guitarist Terry Haggerty.

The Waldos also had open access to Dead parties and rehearsals. "We'd go with [Mark's] dad, who was a hip dad from the '60s," says Steve. "There was a place called Winterland and we'd always be backstage running around or onstage and, of course, we're using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, 'Hey, 420.' So it started spreading through that community."

Lesh, walking off the stage after a recent Dead concert, confirmed that Patrick is a friend and said he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Waldos had coined 420. He wasn't sure, he said, when the first time he heard it was. "I do not remember. I'm very sorry. I wish I could help," he said.

As the Grateful Dead toured the globe through the '70s and '80s, playing hundreds of shows a year - the term spread though the Dead underground. Once High Times got hip to it, the magazine helped take it global.

"I never endorsed the use of marijuana. But hey, it worked for me," says Waldo Dave. "I'm sure on my headstone it'll say: 'One of the 420 guys.'"

More information:
Legalization Poll


Did You Know?
All of the clocks in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kick-Ass (2010)


MTV:
Despite the lack of an A-list star in the title role or a long-established fanbase, "Kick-Ass" hit the #1 box-office spot over the weekend and seemed to launch the start of a new comic book movie franchise. But instead of fulfilling projections that fell in the $25-30 million range, "Kick-Ass" didn't quite cross the $20 million plateau by Sunday night, and now the green light for a sequel seems far from certain.

The film, based on Mark Millar's comic book of the same name, has been garnering both praise as an action-packed thrill ride and derision for its controversial plot. Hormonal teens, ultraviolence, Nicolas Cage channeling Adam West and an 11-year-old spewing profanities and beating grown men into a pulp didn't have quite the mainstream appeal that Lionsgate was hoping.

So what are the chances of a sequel? It's not unheard of for a movie that doesn't rake in huge dollars to gain a sequel. Arriving on U.S. soil in 1980, "Mad Max" grossed just $8.6 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, but it launched Mel Gibson's career and led to two more films — the second grossing $36.2 million in 1985. A year earlier, "The Terminator" pulled in just over $4 million — good for the #1 spot but hardly huge numbers at that time — yet it went on to become a franchise. More recent examples like "Final Destination," "Resident Evil" and "The Transporter" show that a first film doesn't have to do gangbuster numbers to spawn further installments.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Concert for Virginia Tech

A Concert for Virginia Tech
September 6, 2007

To help give the Virginia Tech community a positive start to its first semester back after the April 16, 2007, shootings, Dave Matthews Band played a free show along with John Mayer, Nas and Phil Vassar for Tech students and faculty. A limited number of tickets were sold to the public. All four artists played for free, and ticket and merchandise sales were used to make up the cost of putting on the concert.





More:
Roanoke Times Article
DMB's Setlist

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mickelson Wins Third Masters Title

"It's been such an incredible week, an emotional week," Mickelson said. "And to cap it off with a victory is something I can't put into words. It's something we'll share for the rest of our lives."
ESPN:
For Phil Mickelson, it's a celebration to remember.

Even sweeter than Mickelson slipping into another green jacket was seeing his wife waiting for him behind the 18th green at Augusta National with tears streaming down her face.

Amy Mickelson, with her long blonde hair and easy smile, had not been at a tournament since she was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago.

He says his wife's long-term outlook is good, but the medication has taken a toll on her emotions. They arrived Tuesday, but she stayed in bed most of the week at the house they rented. Even in the final moments, no one was sure if she was coming to the course until she walked toward the 18th green with Mackay's wife, Jennifer.

"In the last year, we've been through a lot and it's been tough. And to be on the other end and feel this kind of jubilation is incredible," said Mickelson, who tightly grasped his wife's hand until he headed off for an interview.

Mickelson finished at 16-under 272, the best score by a Masters champion since Woods in 2001. Just like his last Masters title in 2006, the outcome was never in doubt as Mickelson arrived on the 18th green. Unlike any of his other 40 victories around the world, there was never this much emotion.

Mickelson shared a long embrace with his caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, who took countless trips to San Diego to be with Mickelson as he coped with the uncertainty of cancer -- not only Amy's but his mother, Mary, who was diagnosed the week of his wife's first surgery.

This Masters deserved nothing less than a storybook ending.

It began with Tiger Woods returning from a sex scandal, which shattered his image but left his game intact. He captivated crowds by flirting with contention until the putts stopped falling and he tied for fourth. It ended with Mickelson making daring escapes from the trees, delivering a clutch birdie in the heart of Amen Corner, and pulling off a high-risk shot out of the pine straw.

He knocked in an 8-foot birdie putt for a 3-shot margin over Lee Westwood, who lost the lead for good with a three-putt bogey on the ninth hole and never got closer than 2 shots over the final six holes.

Westwood was third at the British Open last summer, tied for third at the PGA Championship, and dealt with another close call at the Masters with his highest finish ever in a major. He remains among the best players without one.

Anthony Kim, who set a Masters record last year with 11 birdies in the second round, came out of nowhere. His only hope was for Mickelson to fade. That wasn't about to happen. Kim closed with a 65, the best score of the tournament, and finished alone in third.

K.J. Choi's only consolation was going all four rounds with Woods at Augusta and matching his score. He wanted much more, and for the longest time was poised to give Asia successive majors following Y.E. Yang's win at the PGA Championship.

The signature moment came on the 13th, a hole Mickelson has dominated like no other at Augusta. With a 2-shot lead, he was stuck between two Georgia pines and had just over 200 yards to the hole. He never considered anything but a shot at the green.

"I was going to have to go through that gap if I laid up or went for the green," Mickelson said. "I was going to have to hit a decent shot. The gap ... it wasn't huge, but it was big enough, you know, for a ball to fit through."


Mickelson became the eighth player with at least three Masters titles, and it was the fourth major of his career, breaking out of a pack that had included Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh from his generation.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Iron Man 2 Hype

LATimes:
It was just two and a half years ago that “Iron Man” descended on the San Diego Convention Center for Comic-Con and went on to make a staggering $318 million in the U.S. (and nearly $600 million worldwide) for a film about industrialist playboy-turned-fully armed superhero Tony Stark -- previously one of Marvel’s lesser-known crime fighters.

This past July, anticipation for the sequel’s Comic-Con panel was so high that even Marvel executives and studio guests had a tough time getting in -- and some didn’t.

Jon Favreau returns to direct Iron Man 2 with returning cast members Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson and new cast members Garry Shandling as the senator demanding Stark’s suit, Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes (War Machine), Mickey Rourke as bad guy Ivan Vanko (Whiplash), Scarlett Johannson as Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) and Sam Rockwell as arms merchant Justin Hammer.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Terrapins' Greivis Vasquez Wins Cousy Award

WashingtonPost:
Maryland senior Greivis Vasquez added one more bullet point to his lengthy list of accomplishments Thursday when he won the Bob Cousy Award, given annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the nation’s top point guard. Vasquez became the first Terrapin and the third ACC player to claim the prize, which is in its seventh year of existence.

After electing to withdraw his name from the NBA draft last summer, Vasquez returned to College Park for a senior season in which he climbed to No. 2 on Maryland's all-time scoring list.

But according to Cousy, 81, he did not intend for the award to be given to a point guard with a high profile and a score-first mentality. The former Boston Celtics great, who played at Holy Cross from 1946 to 1950, said in a telephone interview in late February that he designed the honor as a nod to old-school point guards who can facilitate just as well as they can put the ball in the basket.

For Vasquez, who was named the ACC player of the year and an Associated Press second-team all-American, shooting was never a last resort. But during the course of Vasquez’s senior season it became evident he had become more able to discern when he needed to engage his teammates in the flow of Maryland’s offense and when he needed to assert his own ability to score. He averaged 19.6 points and 6.3 assists per game.

"Whether it was passing, rebounding, playing defense or making big shots, Greivis made our team better," Maryland Coach Gary Williams said in a statement. "Greivis did whatever was necessary to help us win games. He was a great leader."

Vasquez beat out finalists Sherron Collins (Kansas), Scottie Reynolds (Villanova), Jon Scheyer (Duke), Evan Turner (Ohio State) and John Wall (Kentucky) to win the award, which is determined by a vote of the Hall of Fame's Blue Ribbon Selection Committee, comprising media members, head coaches, sports information directors and Hall of Famers.

Vasquez joins a list of past Cousy Award winners that includes former North Carolina point guards Ty Lawson (2009) and Raymond Felton (2005). With one exception, every Cousy Award winner was selected in the first round of that year’s NBA draft. Former Illinois guard Dee Brown was picked midway through the second round of the 2006 NBA draft.

Part of the reason Vasquez returned to Maryland for his senior season was to improve his NBA draft stock to the point where he would be considered a lock to be selected in the first round. Some NBA talent evaluators believe that Vasquez made considerable strides in that regard over the past six months.

P.S. Here's a look at what some Vasquez haters were saying last season.

P.P.S. He's the first player in ACC history to record 2,000 points, 700 assists and 600 rebounds.