Johnson to Snyder: Skip Draft Ulness 1st Round Guaranteed

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Nevada coach Trent Johnson is trying to persuade star junior swingman Kirk Snyder to return next year unless an NBA coach guarantees he'll be a first-round draft pick.

Johnson told reporters at a news conference to announce he had signed a new 5-year contract on Tuesday that Snyder hasn't made up his mind about entering the NBA draft in June.

The coach said he's concerned about sports agents he likened to "vultures" and others who are trying to persuade the Western Athletic Conference player of the year to forgo his senior season.

"If Kirk Snyder could go in the first round, that's guaranteed money. He could always come back and go to summer school. It would be very selfish of me to try to force Kirk to come back," Johnson said.

"You're talking about a kid who $40 is a lot to," he said.

But "there are probably 45 guys in college basketball right now this year that are every bit as good and as talented - regardless of what position - as Kirk Snyder," Johnson said, noting there will be 30 NBA teams drafting.

"The worst thing we can do is continue to talk about this speculation that he can go to the NBA and the worst thing he can do is believe that," Johnson said.

"Until there is a phone call to me from a general manager or a coach ... saying that, `Coach Johnson, Trent, we like your guy, we want to pick him 15 or 16' - it's all speculation, all rumor."

Snyder averaged 18.8 points per game while playing every position but center for the Wolf Pack (25-9), who advanced to NCAA tournament's round of 16. He has agreed to let his coach meet with anyone who approaches him about a contract, Johnson said.

"Agents are worse than bad college recruiters. They are like vultures," Johnson said.

"Kirk's a very vulnerable kid right now because he's had a lot of success in the limelight," he said.

It's not unusual for top collegiate athletes to "become full of themselves." Johnson said.

"Right now, he's feeling pretty good about himself. ... We're going to have some long talks when I get back from the Final Four."


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