May 28, 2013
Albuquerque, N.M. --- With 30 days remaining until the 2013 NBA Draft, which is taking place on June 27 at the Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, former Lobo Tony Snell is continuing to prepare his game for the NBA. To hear others tell it, his work at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and his work in private team workouts have Snell primed to hear his name on the 27th.
Snell, looking to become the first Lobo to be drafted since Darington Hobson went in the second round of the 2010 draft to Milwaukee, certainly opened some eyes at the Combine in Chicago. Tony was second in shooting at the combine at 74% (tops among all non-centers). His 6-11 ½ wing span would appear to make him a defensive stopper as well.
As for the combine itself, Snell entered it with an open mind.
"I didn't know what to expect from the combine," said Snell over the weekend. "I was mentally ready for any type of event, and I think I performed well." The benefits of the combine for Snell were obvious. While there is plenty of tape for folks to see Snell, and plenty of scouts got the opportunity to see him this year (there were a record number of scouts at the Mountain West Tournament, and UNM had three separate home games this year with at least eight scouts), the specific testing that is done at the combine helped to elevate Snell's draft stock.
Said Snell, "I had the opportunity to show (NBA team personnel) the skills that I didn't show enough of in college. My goal was to work hard and perform well, and I think I did that."
Snell was one of four players to finish in the top five in the three of the six testing stations (C.J. Leslie, Vander Blue, and Shane Larkin were the others). Along with his 76% shooting (ranking second), Snell was also second in the lane agility drill with a time of 10.36 seconds, and fifth in the modified lane agility drill at 2.84 seconds.
While playing and practicing in front of NBA coaches and executives might be harrowing, at least Snell had a familiar face to see on the sidelines in Craig Neal, UNM head coach. "It was great having Coach Neal at the combine. Itshowed me that great support he and the rest of the program has for me and it was nice chatting with him after my workouts," said Snell.
Snell has now also worked out individually for teams, and will do so off and on until the 27th. The team workouts are fairly similar to the combine, with one exception. "The team workouts were kind of similar to the combine just more competitive drills in the team workouts," Said Snell, adding, "from what I am hearing, I'm getting positive feedback so I'm happy about that."
Always a fan favorite in Albuquerque, Snell does have an advantage as he heads towards realizing his NBA dreams, and that's playing in front of packed houses at The Pit in other venues in the Mountain West.
"It was a great experience to play in front of 15,000+ fans every night at the Pit cheering us on," said Snell, "Playing in front of a crowd like that helped me prepare for the big stage at the next level. Lobo fans are the best."
The one thing Snell knows is he has to stick with it and not let his foot off the gas pedal as he heads to the 27th where he hopes to hear his name called. "I just have to keep working hard and see where it'll take me."