Profile: Derrick Snowden

Leslie Combs

A year ago, Derrick Snowden at the point left a question mark in many people’s minds, but after a year starting at the five spot, the 6-foot junior has proved he is more than capable of calling the plays for the Wildcats. The Baltimore native’s quickness and ability to work off the dribble led him to top the team in assists last season with 125, averaging 3.9 per game, as well as being one of four ‘Cats to average in double figures with 10.4 ppg.

Snowden became “Mr. Clutch” for ‘Nova when it came down to the crucial play or last second shot in his second year on the Main Line as well.

Dropping in eight points in the final minute of ‘Nova’s 83-72 win over Georgetown, driving to the basket to topple Notre Dame 74-72 with 26 to go and sinking two at the line with 6.1 left to beat Big Five rival Temple are only a few reasons why the ‘Cats should feel confident with the ball in his hands.

“It probably came from high school,” Snowden explained about his ability to step up and make it happen for the ‘Cats. “I mean, it is more or less my team knowing I am going to take the shots at the end of the game, whereas freshmen year I tried to do it a lot but it didn’t really work out.”

While Snowden will continue to start at the point and will be called upon to deliver in the crucial moments of the game, the pressure of being the only true point guard will be alleviated with the addition of two members of the highly-touted freshmen class, Ray Foye and Allan Ray. With his pesky and aggressive defensive play, Snowden had to back off and play it safe when foul trouble plagued him last year.

“This year it will be a little different because we have more guards,” he explained. “When I get into foul trouble and leave the game we have a couple of back-ups so our team can keep up the pace.”

The option of the two freshmen at the point will allow Snowden to play the in-your-face basketball that he does so well, especially in the intense Big East and Big-Five match-ups.

Talking about the entire freshmen class, Snowden only had praise for how the entire team has handled the transition and additions to the roster.

“I don’t think it really affects the team dynamics,” he said. “They are really talented players and right now we are just trying to work in putting everything together, to have everyone on the same page right now.”

One person who is noticeably not on the ‘Cats page this year is Snowden’s former teammate and close friend Reggie Bryant, who made the decision to transfer due to a probable decrease in playing time. For Snowden, Bryant’s absence has been a difficult adjustment, having known him two years prior to their freshman year, and remains in touch with the former ‘Cat.

“I mean, even when we were here we were inseparable,” Snowden said. “But he had to do what he had to do. As long as Reggie is happy that is all that matters.”

In the absence of his sidekick, Snowden will join seniors Buchanan, Wright and Sullivan as one the seasoned veterans who must lead the talented freshmen on and off the court. Snowden is adamant about not having personal goals, but emphasizes the importance of the team coming together.

“Right now I am just trying to get the whole team playing hard and am focusing on the things the coach wants us to do well,” he said. “I think right now our team chemistry is really, really good, and that will help us on the court later. Overall though, it is too early to tell what will happen.”

It may be too early to tell what the season will bring, but that did not stop the critics and media from hopping onto the ‘Cats’ bandwagon this year and placing the men in the national spotlight. For Snowden, being the frontrunner is a novel prospect, and with it comes new challenges.

“This year we are going to have everyone gunning for us and we have to be mentally and physically prepared,” he explained. “We need to know each of our opponents inside and out and know that we are a good team just as everyone else has been saying.”

Even though it is only November, the media spotlight has already popped the postseason question. Is this the year ‘Nova will return to the dance this March? Smiling, Snowden acknowledges that making the Tourney could be on the agenda later, but follows the mantra of head coach Jay Wright when saying that the team is just going to take this year’s season one game at a time.

“Once you get ahead of yourselves it is hard to stay focused on the big picture,” he said. “We haven’t even talked about the tournament. Right now we are just focused on how we are going to beat Marquette.”

No matter what the outcome will be for the ‘Cats come March, there is no question that Snowden will be right in the midst of it all.