Monday, September 17, 2012

Snyder ready to elevate

Ponderosa. It's a pine tree. Also, the ranch home of the fictional television Cartwright family of "Bonanza" fame. But now those nine letters are gaining stature for the turning out of bigs in high school basketball. Initially it was Brad Waldow graduating in 2010 and becoming the starting center at St. Mary's as a redshirt freshman. In 2012, it junior Chris Snyder's turn to shine.

Currently ranked #11 in the Nor Cal Preps 2014 Boys Basketball Top 40, Snyder is a real big, checking in at 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds. Selected as an honorable mention all league honoree based on his 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds a game (62% from the floor, 76% at the foul line) as a sophomore, he and his teammates participate in the Delta River League (DRL), one of the toughest collection of schools around. Besides Ponderosa, among the other DRL members are Oak Ridge, Pleasant Grove, Sheldon and Jesuit .

New Ponderosa Coach Troy Selvey calls his guy in the middle "a unique player, a prototypical throwback big who you can throw the ball to into the post and he'll be effective."

Steve Reed, Selvey's assistant, pulls no punches on the player he coached on the junior varsity two seasons ago: "Chris is one of the best players in northern California. He's a lefty who is as strong as an ox and has a nice touch."

In asking Snyder to describe best skill, he replied "scoring" and then he quickly added, "I want to get stronger, more athletic and better on defense."

And don't bet against him doing just so because "I love competing and the setting of and reaching goals."

A query regarding his biggest basketball influence elicited a bevy of family history.

"I'd say my grandfather. He was very successful and basketball is something we have in common."

89-year-old Ray Snyder is a Bay Area coaching legend and not too shabby of a player back in his day. He earned All-Conference, All-State and All-American honors at the College of Marin (COM) in 1948, the year COM won a national championship. Ray Snyder then went on to play for Slats Gill at Oregon State and the Beavers finished fourth in the NCAA in 1949. What followed was a career in education while coaching Fremont High, Cupertino High, Homestead High and Monta Vista to over 600 basketball victories.

So there's quite the family roundball lineage.

Here's Selvey again on his protege during the summer: "Chris is rebounding at a high level and running the floor better. He has barely scratched his surface but with his size, skill and work ethic, he will be something."

Reed also had more to say: "This will be Chris' breakout year. He is further along in his junior year than Brad Waldow was."

Maybe even more importantly, Reed also explained, "when something is wrong [as a team], Chris is one of our leaders and takes ownership."

Academically, Snyder earned a 3.3 grade point average last year and is now enrolled in two AP courses.

Here's a forecast: start looking for an increase in automobile traffic in and around Shingle Springs beginning in November, this season and next, in the area of the Ponderosa High gymnasium specifically.

The rare sight of a real big will be on display.

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