Interview: Kirk Snyder Part 2

Interview: Kirk Snyder  Part  2
May 09, 2004, 01:00 am
Jonathan Givony: What are your goals for your first season in the NBA? Making the All-rookie team, playing in the rookie-sophomore game, is there anything that you're telling yourself- this is what I want to accomplish next year?

Kirk Snyder: Sure, but it's the basic stuff first, playing hard and hopefully getting some breaks. My biggest concern is getting into a place where I can contribute in some kind of way, whatever it has to be, just helping the team. I want to be in a place where I can contribute on the court, but if that doesn't happen then I'm willing to contribute in other ways too.

Givony: So what are some things you need to improve on to become a successful NBA player?

Snyder: Improvementwell there is a lot of room for improvement. Being consistent, not many people realize how much NBA players need to focus. It doesn't look like these guys play 82 games. People don't give them enough credit for how much they actually play, these guys play so hard and so long every single night against the best competition in the world, and here they are playing these playoff games now. That's the biggest thing I need to improve on, being able to stay focused for a long period of time.

Givony: Well what about your shooting Kirk, the NBA three point line is a bit farther out and your shot maybe wasn't all that consistent at times during the year, are you working on that?

Snyder: You say consistent, sure. But I think that percentage wise, it speaks for itself. I think that it's actually going to be a little easier for me to shoot the three in the NBA. In college, most of the time I needed to create my own three point shot, I had to take some pretty awkward shots, sometimes with two people on me, I was always expected to take the big time shots. I think it's going to be a lot easier to shoot when you have someone giving you an easy pass. I can knock down the open three pointer all day long. I have no doubt in my mind, the open jumper is the easiest shot in the world. I'm a shooter and everyone will know that when they see me shoot the ball. I put so much repetition into my jump shot, that's really what I bring to the table.

Givony: I know someone that goes to the University of San Francisco, I'm not sure what conference they are in but you guys played against them this year. I heard that you hit some kind of amazing half court shot at the buzzer or something like that. Is that up there with one of your best moments in college?

Snyder: I think they are in the West Coast Conference. But no, it wasn't from half court, it was probably a little bit deeper then the NBA three point line. Is that up there with my best moments? Yeah probably that's up there, but it wasn't really all that special like as my best moment since we were playing against USF. I mean we were supposed to beat those guys, but they played a good game. What people might not remember from that game was the fact that I was late for the bus and I didn't start because of that, but I came on and hit that game winning shot and all of a sudden it didn't matter anymore (laughs).

So yeah, that probably does rank up there as one of my best shots ever, but I did hit a game winning shot against Fresno that was probably a little bit of a bigger shot.

Givony: I didn't see that one Kirk, what happened there?

Snyder: Actually it was my freshman year, I was just coming off being ineligible and I was only able to play in the conference games. So we played them at home, and they were supposed to beat us since they had a future NBA player, actually they had two pros I think. They had Chris Jeffries who went to Toronto, you know who I'm talking about?

Givony: Sure, he's in Chicago right now. Rick Brunson's best friend (laughs). Was the second guy Melvin Ely?

Snyder: Yeah, there you go, Melvin Ely. We were supposed to lose that game, easily. And I ended up having a really good game.

Givony: Did you hit the last shot?

Snyder: Yeah, the game winner. A three pointer. Step back, yeahIt's funny because people saw me in the tournament for the first time and they were like who is this guy? But I've been doing my thing for a pretty long time in the NCAA. That's what happens when you play for a team like Nevada, I'm pretty well known on the West coast, but a lot of people across the country don't really know me. It's not like it just happened yesterday (laughs) people in the tournament saw me for the first time and were like Wow! This guy is good!

Givony: Well, some of the more hardcore fans might remember that upset victory you guys had on ESPN earlier on in the season on Kansas. I just heard that Keith Langford was talking some trash in the paper before that game, about how he was a better player or something. I don't even really know what happened there?

Snyder: Right you're talking about before the game, he was complaining about how I'm ranked higher and all that stuff right?

Givony: Yeah, someone ranked you on a list as being on the best slashers in the country, and he wasn't on that list or something so he got pissed, he said that he doesn't even know who you are.

Snyder: Yeah, he said he's gonna like kill me or something because he kills everyone that is ranked higher then him. I take that and I laugh at it, it's a basketball game.

Givony: Well you definitely got the last laugh, you put up 29 points and 9 rebounds on him and you guys upset them.

Snyder: Well it's not about the last laugh, like we say in Cali, it's just basketball, man. I don't understand when people talk like that. I love playing the game, I'm going to play hard, I'm going to want to succeed no matter what you say in the papers. To me that's trash talking, if you love the game of basketball you don't need to do that.

Givony: Yeah on the court I can understand something like that, but in the media? That's just lame man.

Snyder: (laughs) You gotta be like a Michael Jordan or something like that to say that.

Givony: Yeah that reminds me of the whole K-Mart-Tim Thomas thing.

Snyder: (laughs) Oh yeah, he called him Fugazi or something like that?

Givony: I don't know where the hell Tim Thomas was coming from on that, K-Mart brings his A game every single night, and you know he's not pulling down 4-5 rebounds a game like Tim Thomas does even though he's shorter then him.

Snyder: Yeah well, there are the hard workers like Kenyon Martin and then there are the trash talkers, and sometimes a guy like him doesn't get all the credit he deserves for his basketball, so he needs to do different things for people to recognize what he does. When you got a guy that is playing harder then you, just outworking you, a lot of people will just complain but not really do anything about it.

Givony: So do you have a favorite team or player in the NBA right now?

Snyder: No not really, Michael Jordan stopped playing so

Givony: Well you're from Southern California, are you a Lakers fan or a Clippers fan?

Snyder: Oh I'm a Lakers fan, of course I want them to win.

Givony: I'm sure they would love to pick you up, they could definitely use another guy that can shoot and pass the ball and play some good defense as well.

Snyder: Well I don't know, they already have a lot of good players like Kareem Rush and all those other guys that maybe don't get enough time but they are definitely really good players.

Givony: So you would rather go to a team that maybe isn't as good but you'd probably get a better chance to play more?

Snyder: I'd rather play, honestly I want to play basketball. If it doesn't happen, though, at first, I'd understand. If I had my choice I would go to a place where I can help the team.

Givony: The Jazz have three picks, all in the area you could be drafted. I'm sure they've seen plenty of you over the past few years. They need a 2 guard, I love Raja and all, he went to FIU which isn't too far from my house, but I'm sure they could use some more help at the 2. Any interest in playing there?

Snyder: (laughs) I'm interested in playing anywhere man.

Givony: How will you make the transition from the WAC to the NBA? What do you expect will be your biggest obstacles?

Snyder: Well, they made the WAC like the NBA for me, I got double teamed all the time, they made things really tough on me. The NBA is a little more about individual talent, I can't bring my whole team with me. But I'm ready for it.

Givony: If 10 years from now your career in the NBA never surpassed that of a role player on a good team, do you think you could be happy with that?

Snyder: No, I don't think that's in the mind of any basketball player, that's the kind of thing that just happens. Every year you work out and you want to get better and try to be as important as the way you were in college. If 10 years down the road I'm a role player in the NBA, the best league in the world, that still speaks volumes about the type of player I am, because there still haven't been that many people who have done that. I would still feel fortunate to have played in the NBA.

Givony: I always wondered, do you ever pick up the newspaper or go on the internet and see what people are saying about you?

Snyder: No, I leave that up to the fans, they do a pretty good job about that. I don't pick up the paper or go on the internet to see what people are saying about me. I'm not really that big on myself.

Givony: Kirk, I heard that you are engaged, you worried at all about that being tough with all the traveling you'll have to do?

Snyder: No no no, I might. I might. I'm thinking about it. That's something that's going to happen, but I'm going to have to get acquainted with my new surroundings first. That'll be something I'll look into when those things happen.

Givony: I saw Richard Jefferson the other day on ESPN's hot seat, he was asked if he had the chance would he pick to win an NBA championship or an Olympic gold medal. He picked the gold medal. Would you pick the same?

Snyder: No, I'll take the championship. I don't think those guys in the Olympics are really your peers, I think the NBA is the best competition in the world. I played on the US national team this summer against the Bahamian (Bahamas) national team, and they're no Detroit Pistons or anything like that. I want to be able to say hey I got a ring. That's what it's all about. It's not about beating all these guys who you can't even pronounce their names.

Givony: So what happened in high school Kirk? How come you ended up going to Nevada?

Snyder: I was pretty much recruited by everyone at first, but they have this thing called the SAT's (laughs). So my grades weren't good enough along with my SAT score.

Givony: So teams backed off a little bit after that?

Snyder: They didn't back off Jonathan, they took cover! Went back under the rock. I never saw something like that before, everyone is calling you all the time, and then when your grades come out it's like nothing, silence. I was young at the time. That was one of the first lessons I learned, not to take things personal. It's all business. People weren't going to gamble on a guy like me. Some schools have been tainted by players not getting good enough grades, graduation rates and things like that. It all worked out, though. Coach Johnson didn't go under the rocks, we worked things out, we did everything by the book and it worked out great.

Givony: Kirk, thanks for giving me your time, this has been a really fun interview. Best of luck in the draft.

Snyder: Oh it was my pleasure. It was good talking to you Jonathan. Keep doing your thing.

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