The Chicago Bulls thought highly enough of Tony Snell to use the 20th pick of this years NBA Draft on him. And during the summer league, Snell showed why the organization was high on him from the very beginning -- he was one of the first people the team brought in for pre-draft workouts -- as he averaged 11.8 points, 6.6 assists and 2.2 steals in five games.
Steve Alford, the current head coach at UCLA and a former basketball star in his own right, coached Snell at New Mexico and says the Bulls not only have themselves a coachable and skilled player, but a hard worker as well.
“The thing I’ll remember most about Tony is that he literally was usually the first one to practice,” said Alford in a recent Bulls.com interview. “I always knew practice was 20 to 30 minutes away by when Tony came into the gym. He was always early to work on his game.”
Last season, Snell led the Lobos to both a regular season and postseason title and was named MVP of the 2013 Mountain West Tournament. Snell made a number of big shots for New Mexico last year and came through in pressure packed moments as well.
And while those qualities are desirable in a basketball player, that's not what caught the eye of Gar Forman and John Paxson who personally scouted Snell a number of times last season. The Bulls were intrigued not only by his ability to shoot the ball on offense, but his potential on defense as well.
“I think he’s just like a lot of what the Bulls are about—a high character guy who is big on integrity. He’s very coachable and he can be a very good defender because he’s versatile,” said Alford. “He’s going to be one of those role guys who will complement his teammates and he’ll buy in from Day 1 what the Chicago Bulls organization is all about.”
As for Snell's future in the NBA, Alford thinks his former star has everything it takes to be a solid pro in the league.
"He’s a winner and he’ll compete," said Alford. "He gets those types of things. I think he’s got the potential to have a long and very good pro career.”