Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/2/12
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. Michael Snaer had done plenty in three seasons at Florida State. He was part of an influx of players who changed the culture and elevated the program nationally. Snaer had knocked down buzzer-beating 3-pointers. He had helped FSU to upsets of Duke, North Carolina and Notre Dame. He had guided FSU to a stunning Sweet 16 spot in 2011. He sat on the basketball rim in Atlanta, smiling for the team photo just minutes after the Seminoles won the programs first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title. And for most college basketball players, that would have been enough. But after FSUs season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Snaer sat down with his family, FSU coach Leonard Hamilton and his adviser. On one hand At first glance it seemed like, Yeah, you should go, " Snaer said. It seemed like the right choice. Why not? Its that time. But on the other hand Then when you come back and look at it, it was like, You can come back and do so many great things next year, " Snaer said. Plus, I love Florida State. You would think you would be crazy to pass up that golden opportunity (to play in the NBA) just to come back to school, but its a place I love. I love the place. So Snaer came back to Tallahassee, quietly letting the NBA Drafts early entry deadline pass in the spring. There was no fanfare, no press release. But when a talented junior passes up the NBA and that golden opportunity, maybe there should be something made of the decision. If anything, the ACC coaches knew what Snaer was doing, and they will have to deal with a player who is full of confidence, unselfish on defense and is perhaps the best clutch shooter in college basketball. Snaer averaged 14 points and 3.8 rebounds per game, two sets of numbers that dont really reflect his impact on his team or his ability to help FSU win games. His ability to shoot the 3-pointer Snaer led the team with 67 3-pointers last season begins to tell the story. While sometimes inconsistent from beyond the arc early in games, Snaer finds his rhythm in the second half. He knocked down the game-winning 3-pointer as time expired at No. 4 Duke in January, giving FSU a 76-73 victory and ending the Blue Devils 45-game home winning streak. A few weeks later, with FSU trailing in the closing moments at home against Virginia Tech, Snaer made a 3-pointer to help FSU hold off the Hokies. Now Snaer is back for his senior season, and he has embraced more of the leadership role after FSUs roster turned over with the graduation of six seniors (and the influx of seven newcomers). He says being a leader just feels right, and there is clearly a desire to continue what he has helped the program achieve and push for more in 2012-13. I think the program has come a long way, Snaer said. I think were at a point right now where we can just keep building. This is where we start making our tradition right now after winning the ACC championship. Now you add on to the tradition. Maybe win another one, maybe win a national championship. The aspect of Snaers stats that goes unseen is that he spends so much energy on the defensive end, often guarding the opponents top player. Snaers value isnt always illustrated in points per game its reflected in the eyes of frustrated shooting guards. One of the top prospects in the country coming out of Rancho Verde High in Moreno Valley, Calif., Snaer was a McDonalds All-American who not only bypassed an offer to play at nearby UCLA but also hoops powerhouses like Missouri, Kansas and Marquette. Snaer bought into coach Leonard Hamiltons pitch of building a program in Tallahassee. And Snaer has devoted all of his energy to that from the start. His attitude has not changed since the day he arrived here as a freshman, Hamilton said. Hes extremely competitive. He loves the game of basketball. He practices just as hard when he is in the gym by himself working with his individual skills as he does when he is in a 5-on-5 situation. Unfortunately, sometimes thats whats good about him and sometimes it can be something he has to adjust to. He is really a guy that is somewhat of a perfectionist. Snaer came back to FSU to earn his degree, improve his basketball skills and help the Seminoles try to defend their conference championship. With so many players lost to graduation, its easy to write off FSUs chances of repeating in 2012-13. While FSU may lack experienced depth that has knowledge of Hamiltons system, the Seminoles return Snaer, sharp-shooting guard Ian Miller, athletic forward Okaro White and energetic forward Terrance Shannon. There are surely concerns, especially at point guard, where Miller may run the offense in the near term while FSUs newcomers learn. And FSU has three 7-footers, but none has played a minute of Division I basketball. Snaer sees plenty of potential. I really, really think that if we start off on the right foot and win some games early, well put ourselves in a great position coming into ACC play, Snaer said. I really feel like with every day that goes by, with every practice I feel more and more confident in the guys that I have around me, feel more confident that we can go out there and get the job done against whoever. I hope that we can do that. Ive been thinking about it every single day.
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