April 26, 2013

Synder ready to impress

Kevin McCarthy

Maybe it's simply chance or possibly there is something in the water surrounding Ponderosa High in Shingle Springs, who knows? Because first there was Brad Waldow, who is now the starting center at St. Mary's, and now 6-foot-9 Chris Snyder is readying to have a spring and summer that will bring him multiple college offers.

photo of Chris Snyder

Snyder is simultaneously young and archaic, meaning he just completed his junior season but his skill set is a throwback collection of assets. He likes to play inside, angling his 240 pounds to good use, plus his hands act like magnets to rubber. Snyder is also equally proficient at turning both left and right to score.

He's currently ranked No. 17 in the NorCal Preps 2014 Boys Basketball rankings.

Averaging 15.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game this season (59% from the floor, 70% at the foul line), Snyder got quite up close and personal with opponents as injuries to a couple of teammates often made him the sole focus of defenses. When the quality of opponents includes Pleasant Grove, Sheldon, Jesuit, Oak Ridge and the like, well, you know you've been defended.

How does he assess his performance this winter?

“Personally, I played pretty well but I'd gladly trade individual numbers for more team success.”

The Bruins goal for next season is a deep run in the playoffs and Snyder is working now “on learning where the double teams will be coming from” and to develop an innate knowledge of where to kick out the ball when he is surrounded.

Here's Ponderosa High Coach Troy Selvey on his big: “Chris developed more in this last year than the past three. He has a better understanding of what it takes and he has dedicated himself to becoming the best basketball player he can be. Because of his size, people think he can be taken advantage of on pick-and-roll situations but his hedging on screens became much better as the year progressed.”

Asked about which conferences look to be good fits for Snyder, Selvey offered “the West Coast Conference and Big West Conference levels” but wouldn't rule out the Mountain West Conference and even the Pac-12, stating “it's all a matter of putting in the time and effort. Our goal as a staff is to help him become the best player he can be -- that's what can be controlled.”

The big news is a change in plans regarding Snyder's club participation.

“I'm playing with the Double Pump Elite squad,” he explained, a long-standing team out of southern California. He's being positioned at both center and power forward and the Pumps will be hitting Las Vegas, Arizona and Oregon among other destinations for tournaments, as well as hosting some.

But he's still participating with a Play Hard Play Smart entity in tournaments up near home when he is available.

Snyder is also working out with a physical trainer to take his strength and conditioning up a notch, plus “I want to drop some weight, like 20 pounds.”

Among other things, basketball is also an escape for Snyder -- “when I want to clear my head, I head out to the court.”

But there's no freedom for opponents from him in the paint.