Bruce Weber talks about Xavier Sneed’s NBA Draft decision
It took Xavier Sneed longer than expected to make a decision about his basketball future, but you won’t find any Kansas State fans complaining about that today.
Sneed announced late Wednesday that he will return to K-State for his final season of college basketball and lead the Wildcats as a senior.
“After much consideration,” Sneed said, “my family and I feel that it is in my best interest to return to Kansas State University to complete my undergraduate degree and continue my basketball development program.”
That is great news for K-State.
With Sneed on the roster, the Wildcats will have an opportunity to reload next season as they look to replace departing seniors Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade. The rising senior wing is a versatile athlete capable of playing both forward positions and K-State’s top returning scorer. Alongside Cartier Diarra and Makol Mawien, K-State will have three dependable players in the starting lineup.
Without Sneed, K-State coach Bruce Weber would have had to get creative with a young group that lacked proven starters, depth and leadership.
“Obviously we are thrilled to know that Xavier will be part of our basketball program for his senior season,” Weber said. “He has the ability to be not only the best swing man in the Big 12, but also in the nation. There is no doubt that he will be our team leader.”
The odd thing about his decision was that it long seemed like a formality that he would return to school. When Sneed declared for the NBA Draft as an early entrant last month he seemed to be in it only for the experience.
Sneed hoped to work out for a few professional teams, receive feedback from scouts and then return to college, where he would use that newfound knowledge to help lead the Wildcats as a senior.
That was the plan. But when he was still mulling over his options after the sun went down Wednesday and the withdrawal deadline of 10:59 p.m. approached, his future seemed uncertain. Things were tense for K-State fans until he announced his plans on social media at 9:19.
“From my conversations with him,” Weber said, “I believe the NBA experience has been a valuable one for him. We have received positive feedback from several NBA scouts about his upside and his future. I know that he will use these experiences to help motivate himself to continue his development as a player, have a special senior season and leave a positive legacy in our program. I also know that his family will be excited and proud to have him finish his business degree at K-State.”
Since declaring for the NBA Draft, Sneed had an active month. He worked out for the Sacramento Kings two weeks ago and then participated in the Professional Basketball Combine, where he measured 6-foot-6 and 210.2 pounds.
Sneed averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds last season while helping the Wildcats win 25 games and share the Big 12 championship with Texas Tech.
He was not projected as a draft pick in online mock drafts, but he was thought to be a candidate for a roster spot in the NBA’s developmental league or an overseas team.
He still dreams of playing professional basketball, but he will try to improve his NBA stock with another year in college rather than in the pro ranks.
As a senior, Sneed will be the unquestioned leader of the team.
During his time in Manhattan, he has mostly operated in the shadows of Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade. Now, he figures to be the Wildcats’ go-to guy.