Tony Snell (basketball)

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Tony Snell
Tony Snell 11-Jan-14.jpg
Snell with the Bulls in January 2014
No. 20 – Chicago Bulls
Position Shooting guard / Small forward
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1991-11-10) November 10, 1991 (age 23)
Watts, Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school Martin Luther King
(Riverside, California)
Westwind Academy
(Phoenix, Arizona)
College New Mexico (2010–2013)
NBA draft 2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20th overall
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Pro career 2013–present
Career history
2013–present Chicago Bulls

Tony Rena Snell, Jr. (born November 10, 1991)[1] is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Snell played college basketball for the New Mexico Lobos before declaring for the NBA draft after his Junior year. He was drafted with the 20th overall pick in 2013 NBA draft by the Bulls.[2]

Born in Watts, California, Snell moved to Phoenix, Arizona before his senior year to finish high school at Westwind Preparatory Academy. Snell was the starting shooting guard for New Mexico in his sophomore and junior seasons, helping lead the Lobos to back-to-back Mountain West Conference (MWC) regular season and conference tournament championships and NCAA Tournament bids.

High school career[edit]

Snell attended Martin Luther King High School in 2008-09, where he and teammate Kawhi Leonard,[3] now with the San Antonio Spurs, led the Wolves to a 30-3 season and a #7 national ranking in the MaxPreps/National Guard computer rankings.[4] Snell averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, and three assists per game under head coach Tim Sweeney. In 2009 Snell enrolled at Westwind Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, where he averaged 19.5 points, 10 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2.7 steals, and 1.8 blocks.[5] At Westwind he was a teammate of Jamaal Franklin, who went on to play for San Diego State University and was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2013.

College career[edit]

Freshman Year, 2010–11[edit]

In 2009, ESPN scouting reports called Snell "one of the top sleepers on the West Coast" and a "diamond in the rough."[6] Snell committed to play for the New Mexico Lobos on September 15, 2009 and signed in November 2009.[4][7]

The 2010-11 Lobo squad was young and inexperienced, led by lone senior Dairese Gary and UCLA transfer Drew Gordon.[8] Snell was one of four freshmen playing significant minutes, along with Kendall Williams, Alex Kirk, and Cameron Bairstow, one of the most accomplished recruiting classes in Lobo history.[9] The team had a roller-coaster season, starting 10-1 and later winning four straight twice, but also losing four straight and six of nine. They beat #3 BYU in Provo late in the season, but lost to the Cougars in the MWC tournament. The Lobos received a bid to the 2011 National Invitation Tournament and beat UTEP before losing at Alabama to finish the season 22-13.

Snell played in all but one game, averaging 4.4 points and two rebounds.[4][10] He scored in double-figures four times and led the team in scoring twice. He had a breakout performance with 16 points against then-#9 BYU, hitting four three-pointers, followed two games later by a season-best 19, with five threes, against Wyoming. He started seven games, averaging 8.3 points in his starts, and in one seven-game stretch he averaged 10.3 points a game and shot 17-31 (.548) from three. A sprained ankle late in the season limited his play and cut his production, as he managed just 11 points in the last eight games of the season.

Sophomore Year, 2011–12[edit]

The Lobos in 2011-12 were anchored by the dominant inside play of Gordon, who tallied 19 double-doubles and whose 11.1 rebounds per game were fourth in the nation.[11] The team allowed just 59.3 points per game, the lowest ever for the Lobos in the shot clock era, and they held opponents under 40% shooting for the first time since the 1964-65 season. Their scoring defense was fourteenth nationally, and their defensive field goal percentage was seventh.

Snell was among several young guards battling for playing time going into the season, as senior and three-year starter Phillip McDonald was hampered by injury.[12] Snell earned a starting spot after "tearing it up in practice" and playing well in preseason exhibition games.[13] He was capable of explosive scoring, but he was also prone to becoming tentative and falling into slumps.[14] He scored in double-figures in twenty games, including three games over 20, twice scoring 24, hitting six threes in one of those games; yet he also scored six or fewer points in eleven games, going scoreless for two straight games at one point.[4][15] For the season, Snell averaged 10.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game.[16]

The Lobos won thirteen straight early in the season on the way to a 15-2 record.[17] They lost their next two games to #16 San Diego State and at #14 UNLV but then won seven straight, avenging those losses and climbing into the top twenty with a 22-4 record. After two upset losses they settled for a share of the MWC regular season championship. In the conference tournament semi-finals, the Lobos won at #20 UNLV, with Snell accounting for 15 points, six rebounds, and six assists.[4][18] The Lobos won the championship game over #18 San Diego State, as Snell scored 14, shooting 4-6 from three, and was named to the All-Tournament team.[19][20] New Mexico received a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Snell was a non-factor, shooting a combined 1-9 (1-8 from three) and scoring just three points as the Lobos beat Long Beach State[21] then lost to Final Four-bound Louisville.[22] The Lobos finished the season 28-7, and Snell was named Honorable Mention All-Mountain West.[23]

Junior Year, 2012–13[edit]

The 2012-13 Lobos again relied on tough defense and a balanced scoring attack, often coming from behind to grind out close wins. The team held opponents to sixty points a game and again held them under 40% shooting, while going 10-2 in games decided by six or fewer points.[24] While Williams led the team at just 13.3 points a game, four players averaged in double-figures, and seven Lobo players led the team in scoring in individual games.[25] Snell led the team in ten games, including five straight during a late stretch when he averaged 19.8 a game and shot 22-39 (.564) from three-point range.[26] On the season, Snell averaged 12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists a game, and he led the team in three-point shooting percentage and, for the second straight season, free throw percentage.[16][27] Over his career, he was the fifth most accurate free throw shooter in Lobo history.

The Lobos began the season 12-0, including a win over #19 Connecticut, and climbed to #16 in the polls. They lost a couple of games to eventual NCAA tournament teams South Dakota State and St. Louis, but also won at #8 Cincinnati. After a bad loss at #20 San Diego State, they won nine out of ten and clinched the MWC regular season title, while reaching #11. Snell assumed more of a leadership role, an adjustment due to his quiet demeanor — his mother termed him the "silent assassin," a nickname that Lobo fans embraced.[28] He scored 20 points or more in six games, 25 or more in three games, but he continued to struggle at times, scoring under ten points in 13 games, with a low of five.[26] In the MWC tournament, Snell averaged 17.7 points a game while shooting 12-20 (.600) from three-point range. In the semi-final game against San Diego State, he made three three-pointers in 55 seconds as the Lobos built a large lead. In the championship game at UNLV, he shot 8-11 from the field, 5-7 from three, at one point scoring 13 straight points for the Lobos as they pulled away to seal their second straight tourney title.[29] Snell was named tournament MVP and ESPN national player of the week for his performance.[30] After the season he was named Third Team All-MWC.[4] New Mexico entered the NCAA Tournament ranked #10 and received a three-seed. They suffered a disappointing upset to Harvard, however, to finish the season 29-6. The Lobos shot poorly, with Snell going 4-12, 1-6 from three, for just nine points.[31]

Snell chose to forgo his senior season and declared for the NBA draft. While his college numbers were not spectacular, NBA scouts noted that the Lobo's balanced offense limited his output, and they were impressed by his length, outside shooting, and greatly improved defense.[32]

College stats[edit]

2010-11 New Mexico 34 7 17.5 .364 .345 .735 1.9 0.9 0.2 0.2 4.4
2011-12 New Mexico 35 35 25.5 .448 .387 .831 2.7 2.3 0.5 0.4 10.5
2012-13 New Mexico 35 35 31.2 .422 .390 .843 2.6 2.9 0.8 0.5 12.5
Career 104 77 24.8 .421 .380 .821 2.1 2.0 0.5 0.3 7.4
  • Bold indicates team leader

Professional career[edit]

Snell was selected with the 20th overall pick in 2013 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls.[2] On July 10, 2013, he signed with the Bulls[33] and joined them for 2013 NBA Summer League where he averaged 11.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game.[34]

As a rookie in 2013–14, Snell appeared in 77 games for the Bulls, averaging 4.5 points per game.[16] In July 2014, he re-joined the Bulls for the 2014 NBA Summer League where he averaged 20 points, four rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game as he was named to the All-NBA Summer League first team.[35][36] He was also reunited with former Lobo teammates Bairstow, whom the Bulls drafted in 2014, and Williams.[37]

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

2013–14 Chicago 77 12 16.0 .384 .320 .756 1.6 .9 .4 .2 4.5
Career 77 12 16.0 .384 .320 .756 1.6 .9 .4 .2 4.5


2014 Chicago 5 0 9.2 .222 .000 .000 1.2 .4 .2 .2 .8
Career 5 0 9.2 .222 .000 .000 1.2 .4 .2 .2 .8


  1. ^ The Birth of Tony Snell,
  2. ^ a b Tony Snell Biography,
  3. ^ Joel Francisco. "Leonard's stock keeps rising". 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Tony Snell Bio". New Mexico Athletics Official Site. 
  5. ^ "Tony Snell Basketball Profile - Westwind Prep International 09-10 - MaxPreps". 
  6. ^ "Basketball Recruiting - Tony Snell - Player Profiles". 
  7. ^ "Tony Snell". 
  8. ^ Richard Stevens, Lobo Basketball Game Notes 2010-11, Season Recap, p.2.
  9. ^ This Lobo class was one of classiest ever, Albuquerque Journal, March 6, 2014.
  10. ^ Lobo Game Notes 2010-11, p.54
  11. ^ Richard Stevens, New Mexico Lobo Men's Basketball 2011-12 Season Review, MWC Official Site, April 10, 2012.
  12. ^ Mark Smith (November 1, 2011), Lobos To Exhibit Talent, Albuquerque Journal 
  13. ^ Mark Smith (November 11, 2011), Privateers A Mystery To Lobos, Albuquerque Journal 
  14. ^ Rick Wright (February 18, 2012), Lobo Snell Comes Out of that Shell, Albuquerque Journal 
  15. ^ Mark Smith (February 17, 2012), The National Stage Is Set, Albuquerque Journal 
  16. ^ a b c Tony Snell,
  17. ^ Lobo Media Guide 2013-14, p.141.
  18. ^ New Mexico vs. UNLV, Boxscore,, March 9, 2012.
  19. ^ New Mexico vs. San Diego State, Boxscore,, March 10, 2012.
  20. ^ Mark Smith (March 10, 2012), Lobos Are Best in the (Mountain) West, Albuquerque Journal 
  21. ^ New Mexico vs. Long Beach State, Boxscore,, March 15, 2012.
  22. ^ New Mexico vs. Louisville, Boxscore,, March 17, 2012.
  23. ^ "Mountain West Announces 2011-12 Men's Basketball All-Conference Awards". The Mountain West. March 5, 2012. 
  24. ^ Lobo Media Guide 2013-14, pp.103,109,141.
  25. ^ Richard Stevens, 2012-13 Season Review, Lobo Media Guide 2013-14, p.49.
  26. ^ a b Lobo Basketball Game Notes 2012-13, p.57.
  27. ^ Lobo Media Guide 2013-14, pp.72,75.
  28. ^ Geoff Grammer (October 12, 2012), Finding His Voice, Albuquerque Journal 
  29. ^ Geoff Grammer (March 16, 2013), No. 15 UNM repeats as MWC tourney champs, Albuquerque Journal 
  30. ^ Lobo Game Notes 2012-13, pp.13-14.
  31. ^ New Mexico vs. Harvard, Boxscore,, March 21, 2013.
  32. ^ Geoff Grammer (March 27, 2013), Snell to test his stock in NBA draft, Albuquerque Journal 
  33. ^ Bulls Sign Tony Snell and Erik Murphy,, July 10, 2013.
  34. ^ 2013 Summer League Statistics,
  35. ^ 2014 Summer League Statistics,
  36. ^ Rice, Jr. named MVP, leads All-NBA Summer League team,, July 20, 2014.
  37. ^ Geoff Grammer (July 13, 2014), Ex-Lobos enjoy being together again, Albuquerque Journal 

External links[edit]