BY SAMMY NEWMAN-BECK

This past weekend in Suwanne, Georgia, 200 of the best players not already in the league came out to take their chance at the next step towards the NBA. With the NBA draft only a week old and the summer league only a week away, the NBA D-League held it’s one and only Pre-Draft camp this past weekend. Players who have been hooping in leagues like the ABA, NPBL, CBA and overseas, came from all over the country to try for a place in the NBA’s minor league.

Luckily enough SLAM had former Mississippi Valley State point guard Tychicus “Tyc” Snow given is the low-down on the down-low’s draft camp. Snow, whose short season with the Elmira Bulldogs of the National Pro Basketball League just wrapped, kept notes while taking part in the two-day event.

SATURDAY – DAY 1 D-LEAGUE PRE-DRAFT CAMP:

This pre-draft camp has been great for me. I play in the NPBL league right now but I was fortunate enough to get invited to this two day draft camp this past weekend. I am actually missing my championship game in the NPBL to be here, with the support of my team of course. They’re really supporting me to be here. So, I have to thank our owners and our head coach James Shutz for that.

But today went well. I have been injured though. I sprained my wrist not too long ago so I am still in a lot of pain and can’t really shoot the ball. But I think I do the other things really well. Even though I wasn’t able to really score today I think that I ran the team well and that the coaches and scouts noticed that. I am a point guard and my job is to run the team and win and that’s what I tried to do.

The competition here is definitely a lot tougher than the NPBL. I mean I have a great NPBL team but this competition is definitely tough. We also have NBA Coaches – which is great. My coach is Grant Long, but there are other guys here that played in the league like Tracey Murray and Robert Pack coaching too.

Tomorrow I look forward to playing again. I hope to keep winning. That is most important to me…I want to win and I think the coaches here see that.

SUNDAY- DAY 2 D-LEAGUE PRE-DRAFT CAMP:

I got up this morning, got some breakfast and headed to the gym around 10 am. We played our first game and we won. I had to ice my wrist after that. Two hours later we lost our last game and that unfortunate but overall the weekend was definitely a great experience. My coach, Grant Long, was really great as a coach too.

My wrist is still hurting though. My coach told me that even though I wasn’t able to shoot the ball I still played very well. Coaches were also very impressed with our team. We actually ran a triangle offense and that impressed a lot of the other coaches. We were the only team really executing such a difficult offense.

You know I play ball everyday but it was great to be here playing against the great competition and learning from a bunch of former NBA guys. I’m really looking forward to playing in the D-League and I think I have a pretty good shot. I think my chances are good. They knew about me before the camp and they also want to get to know you as a person as well as a player and I think that they liked me.

My NPBL team lost last night in the Championship game. One of our main players dislocated his knee in the game. It was definitely a tough lost. I really love that team. My NPBL team in Elmira really supported me to come down here to the camp and that was great, I really appreciated that.

Now that the camp is over I am going to go home and take a couple weeks to rehab my shooting wrist. I want to get healthy so I can be ready to tryout for these teams. I want to be in the best shape so I can prepare myself to get drafted.

Everyone knows the money is overseas but I don’t really want to do that. That’s not my dream or my goal right now. I am trying to make the D-League because that is the closest thing to the NBA. And I think I can make the NBA and I think I will do it one day. I’m taking baby steps right now but I know that when I’m ready mentally, God will bless me with that chance. I love my chances. I showed my leadership this weekend, I was vocal and I had a lot of fun it was really a great experience.

PHOTO: JOE MURPHY