PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – In almost any sport, what players do to prepare in the offseason is nearly as important as what they do in season.
That’s why Troy Snyder is hard at work this summer.
Working at an internship is just part of the daily grind for the 2009 Bolingbrook High School graduate. Getting ready for the college basketball season is another part of the routine.
“I didn’t have such a great year last year, not like I expected,” said Snyder, now a senior at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. “With all the work I’m doing, hopefully I come out and play better this season.”
Snyder, who played two years at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay before transferring at the end of the 2010-11 season in order to be closer to his mother, has mixed weightlifting and speed and agility training into his workout routine. But perhaps the biggest part of his offseason work has taken place on the court.
“I’ve been putting up a lot of shots,” Snyder said.
Even though he said his 2012-13 season wasn’t up to par, Snyder may be his own harshest critic. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward was the Hawks’ leading rebounder and third-leading scorer overall, and ranked second on the team in scoring in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference games. Thirteen times he was the team’s leading scorer in a game, and 12 times he was the leading rebounder. Six times he was both.
He also was named to the all-tournament team when the Hawks played at the University of South Florida in November, and twice he was named UMES male Athlete of the Week (Jan. 7 and Feb. 25). Yet Snyder had no thoughts of resting on those laurels in the offseason.
“I thought I could have done a lot better,” he said. “My field goal percentage was not what I wanted it to be. I shot around 36 percent and my goal was to have it be 45 percent. I did rebound well, but I didn’t do so well in my turnover-to-assist ratio.”
Snyder’s perceived struggles were moderate compared to those of the team as a whole. The Hawks struggled to a 2-26 record and fell in the first round of the MEAC tournament as a mix of injuries and close losses (seven of the Hawks’ 15 losses in 2013 were single-digit defeats), but Snyder, who was a MEAC all-academic honoree as a business administration manager, believes the Hawks can turn it around this season and reach the ultimate destination for college basketball players.
“I hope we make it to the dance,” Snyder said of reaching the NCAA tournament. “A lot of my friends or people I’ve played against have made it, and I want to make it, too. That’s always been the dream since day one.”