Snyder Says NBA Prospect 'A Dream Come True'

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Nevada junior Kirk Snyder says he weighed it all - his teammates' advice, his coach's concerns, his mother's insistence he return to earn his college degree.

But in the end, the 6-foot-6 swingman who helped lead the Wolf Pack to its first berth in the NCAA tournament's "Sweet Sixteen" said he couldn't pass up a chance to play next season in the NBA.

"It's a dream come true," Snyder said late Monday night about his decision to forgo his senior year at Nevada and enter the NBA draft in June.

"I know what I want to do and I'm not looking back," he told KOLO-TV in Reno.

Members of Nevada's basketball coaching staff confirmed Snyder signed a letter with an agent and will not return next year, said Jason Houston, the athletic department's assistant director of media services. Signing with an agent eliminates all NCAA eligibility.

"He's gone," Houston told The Associated Press.

Snyder was attending the NCAA championship game at San Antonio Monday night and did not immediately return a telephone message the AP left on his cell phone.

"I think it's time for me mentally and physically to take my game to the next level," Snyder told KTVN-TV in Reno. "It was one the hardest decisions I've ever had to make in my whole life."

Snyder of Upland, Calif., was named the Western Athletic Conference's player of the year. He averaged nearly 19 points per game while playing every position but center for the Wolf Pack (25-9), who beat Michigan State and Gonzaga before falling to Georgia Tech in the regional semifinals at St. Louis, Mo.

Nevada coach Trent Johnson, who recently signed a new five-year contract with the Wolf Pack, told reporters last week he was trying to persuade Snyder to return for his senior year unless an NBA coach or general manager guaranteed he'll be a first-round draft pick.

Johnson said he preferred Snyder to postpone hiring an agent so he could leave the door open to returning to Nevada, but said he would support his decision.

"All I've wanted is what's best for him." Johnson told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"I told him if he listened he would be in position to go to the NBA after his junior year," he said.

"I've had conversations with three (NBA) general managers. They like him. They don't want me to use their names."

Johnson said the general managers told him that where Snyder goes in the draft could be determined by the number of players coming from Europe or jumping from high school to the NBA.

Snyder said he had talked with Johnson about his decision. He said he expected to be picked in the first round but that he had received no assurances. He said he promised his mother he would return to school at some point to complete his undergraduate degree.

"I could go anywhere from 13th to late in the first round. Most of what I hear is first round definitely," he told KTVN-TV in Reno.

Todd Okeson, Nevada's senior point guard, said Snyder brings out the best in his teammates.

"He's big, He's physical. He's strong. He can play soft if he wants to. He can play back to the basket. He can bring up the ball when I'm tired," Okeson told reporters last week.

"He does it all. ... He does an outstanding job at all four positions. He's not selfish at all."