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The Road to the NBA

By Tomas Rios
May 6, 2010

He was faster, stronger and better than anyone else on the court. There are a lot of good players at this gym, but none quite like him. After he finishes breaking down the defense and making a jumper in his opponent’s face, he does it again and again.

Tyc Snow is a household name in Northern Virginia. He has been terrorizing local players since his days at Stonewall Jackson High School. Snow is now embarking on a difficult journey from the National Basketball Association Development League or D-league to the NBA.

“I sprained my wrist and the week after that was the D-league pre-draft camp…I went to the camp anyway and was denied a contract my first year,” said Snow.

Professional athletes are some of the most recognized people in the world. Fans love them, kids want to be them and reporters love to talk about them. The road to becoming a professional athlete though isn’t always a glamorous trip.

Snow first gained notoriety in high school at Stonewall Jackson. He received many accolades, but was unable to play division I basketball due to his grades.

“During my senior year at Stonewall I was highly recruited by division I colleges,” said Snow, “but I didn’t have the grades so I was forced to go to a junior college…I went to Enterprise-Ozark in Alabama.”

While at Enterprise-Ozark, Snow was the starting point guard and had two standout seasons. He averaged 14 points per game and 2.5 assists while at Ozark.

After his second year at Enterprise-Ozark, Snow decided to take his talents to the next level. Snow transferred to division-1 school Mississippi Valley State University.

While at Mississippi Valley State University, Snow switched back and forth between the point guard and shooting guard positions. Snow’s coaches liked his versatility and what he brought to each position.

“The switching was kind of uncomfortable…I wasn’t switching because I wasn’t able to play the point guard position. It was because my coaches liked my scoring ability,” said Snow.

Snow excelled at Mississippi Valley and almost led the team to an NCAA tournament berth his senior year. Despite a great performance in the conference final, which included five 3-pointers from Snow, Mississippi Valley fell short. Instead of trying to make a run at the pros right after his senior season, Snow decided to stay an extra year in Mississippi.

“ I stayed an additional year to graduate school first,” said Snow “that kind of set me back because I was a year out of playing.”

During March, of his fifth year in college, Snow received an opportunity to play professional basketball for the Elmira Bulldogs in New York. After earning his degree, Snow left for the opportunity to begin his professional career.

Snow led the Bulldogs to the league championship where he suffered a sprained wrist. The following week was the NBA D-League pre-draft camp. Snow was denied a contract at the end of camp.

“It wasn’t a set back at all,” said Snow “ I was playing with one hand. I didn’t even shoot like the whole camp. I was happy to know that deep down in my heart that if I was healthy it would have been better.”

“I saw him play a lot last year at the gym,” said Leo Patino, an employee at the gym Snow attended,” He just destroyed everyone.”

While rehabbing the wrist he injured at D-league camp, Snow trained at a local gym where he honed his game and tormented opponents.

Along with local pick-up games, Snow played in a semi-professional league, the Eastern Basketball Alliance. He dominated the league and averaged 29 points per game.

This past summer, Snow went back to the pre-draft camp and was put into a pool of players eligible to be signed. The Erie Bayhawks later gave him a contract.

“You've got your Earl Boykins and Nate Robinsons out there,” said Duane Rankin, reporter for the Erie Bayhawks, “but they are special talents. I wouldn't put Tyc in their category, but if given a chance to play major minutes in the D-League, you never know what could happen.”

Snow is currently a free agent, but has high hopes for the coming months.

“My agent has a lot planned for me,” said Snow.” Right now he wants me to play on a USA all-star team in June, up in LA. He wants us to play an IBL team…just so I can get some more games under my belt.”

Snow plans on attending a few NBA team camps and making a strong push for the D-league this summer.

“My whole goal is to get to a few NBA camps…the hardest part is over with. I just need to go out and perform,” said Snow.

Trying to get into the NBA is no easy task, but Tyc Snow is well on his way. He is focused and poised for anything that he encounters.

“I’m a very humble and a blessed person. I’m just going to make the best of my opportunities and hopefully make it to the NBA,” said Snow.

Only time will tell if Snow gets to the NBA, but with his skill and determination, anything is possible.