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Snyder has made a huge mistake

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

A colossal mistake.

That’s what I call Kirk Snyder’s decision to make himself available for this year’s NBA draft.

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock the last couple of days, Snyder, Nevada’s talented 6-foot-6 junior swingman hired an agent last weekend which automatically ended his college career. In fact, Snyder has already left school, and is currently in Texas.

Nevada coach Trent Johnson said that Snyder approached the situation incorrectly.

What Snyder should have done is declare himself to the draft, but not hire an agent, which is what Stanford’s Josh Childress elected to do. Snyder still could have participated in all the pre-draft camps and workouts. And, that would have given him a chance to test the waters to see how he stacked up against the competition. And, if he was faring poorly, he could have removed his name from the draft and come back to Nevada.

Now, Snyder is in a situation where he must play well enough to get drafted in the first round to get a guaranteed contract, and that’s not a sure thing. The experts say that Snyder could go anywhere from 17 to 29. Notice I said “could.”

Johnson said recently he believed there were 40 players out there as good as Johnson. The coach’s comment could be taken two ways. First, he honestly believes that. Second, he could have been trying to scare Snyder into staying.

I would have liked to see Snyder examine closely how he played in the final month of the season. He did make some big plays in the WAC tournament and the NCAA tournament, but his outside shooting was way off.

From Feb. 21 to the end of the season, Snyder shot only 36.6 percent, not exactly NBA-type numbers. In that span, he went 3-for-13 twice (Toledo and UTEP). He had a 4-for-16 effort against against Fresno State on Feb. 28 and was a paltry 6-for-20 against Georgia Tech in the Sweet 16 loss.

He scored a lot of his points by putting his head down, getting into the lane and being fouled. That won’t be so easy in the pro game. There are big shot blockers on every NBA team. That wasn’t the case in college.

This may sound like I think Snyder can’t play. Far from it. Snyder is talented, but he has some flaws in his game. The last half of the season he shot poorly from the floor and his decision-making left a lot to be desired.

One NBA scout, who watched Snyder several times this year, said that Snyder should stay in school and work on his “outside game and ballhandling skills.”

I agree. Had Snyder stayed one more year he could have elevated himself into a possible lottery position after his senior year.

The timing of Snyder’s decision was strange. Johnson was at the Final Four, and Mark Fox, his top assistant, had just gotten back Sunday night from San Antonio.

“We thought he was leaning in that direction,” Fox said. “He had a phone. We had a phone. We were keeping in contact. We want him to do well.”

It does leave the Wolf Pack in a tough situation. Not only does Nevada lose its best player, it can’t fill Snyder’s scholarship. NCAA rules say that you can’t bring in any more than eight players over a two-year period.

It also means that the Wolf Pack need to make sure that Mo Charlo, the talented 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Ca., honors his verbal committment and comes to Nevada.

Charlo led DVC into this year’s Elite 8, and Steve Coccimiglio, DVC’s head coach, said Charlo intends to sign with the Wolf Pack on April 14.

“He’s really excited about it,” Coccimiglio said. “I had a bunch of guys over to my house to watch the Michigan State game, and he was really thrilled. He needs to get some more strength.

“He’s really a scorer. He can shoot the 3, can bounce it and pass it very well. He also can post up. He’s a natural 3 (small forward), but he could play a 2 (shooting guard) or a 4 (power forward). Trent saw him last spring and fell in love with him.”

With Snyder gone, the Wolf Pack will need Charlo to step right into a starting position.

It leaves Nevada with one scholarship, and that is going for a point guard to replace Todd Okeson, who enjoyed a tremendous two-year career at Nevada.

Rumors have Nevada interested in 6-4 185-pound guard Lyndale Burleson of Franklin High in Seattle Wa., who is ranked high by many scouting services. Burleson is related to ex-Wolf Pack wide receiver Nate Burleson.

Under NCAA rules, coaches can’t comment on prospective recruits until a letter-of-intent is signed.

“We’re looking for the best one we can find,” Fox said. “Kirk came in and was fine as a freshman, and Nick Fazekas came in and was fine as a freshman. I wouldn’t say getting a junior college player is any better than getting a freshman. We’ve had freshmen start here every year since I’ve been here.”

Darrell Moody is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact him at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281.