Ramone Snowden Keying Niagara’s New Look

For a team that revolved around one player last season, Niagara is doing it in a very different way this year thanks to one of its most experienced players.

A year ago, Antoine Mason was halfway through a season in which he was one of the nation’s leading scorers. This season sophomore Ramone Snowden is one of four players in the country to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, blocks, assists and steals.

Niagara's Ramone Snowden drains a three-pointer against Siena.
Niagara’s Ramone Snowden drains a three-pointer against Siena.

“He’s got a continued upside,” Casey said. “He’s in the very early stages of his career and he’s got an upside to him, as do some other guys, but I just I love his effort and I love his steadiness. He’s a rock every game and every practice.”

For the 6’5″ forward, who had more turnovers than assists last season, has seen his assist rate spike this season.

“I like passing the ball a lot, I pass up a couple of jump shots here now and then just to get like for example Dom [Reid] the ball in the post to get him going,” Snowden said. “I don’t mind not shooting the ball. I like passing the ball.”

Snowden has started all but three games in his career, and this season he has made the jump: ranking 18th in the conference in scoring and 12th in rebounding.

“He’s a good balance to it, he’s got a good feel for it and I trust what he does,” Casey said. “I trust what he does a lot and we talk about that with our team, you have to feel just as good, if not better about getting your teammate a shot and a basket as you do when you get your own basket.”

“That’s what good teams do, they have that feeling for each other and he certainly does that, so I trust what he does. I think we’re better when he scores and other guys are scoring too, it makes us more difficult to guard. There’s really never a time I have to grab him and say shoot more, because I think he makes very good decisions about when to go and when to be in tune with the rest of the team.”

Niagara's Ramone Snowden drains another three-pointer to put the Purple Eagles ahead of Iona.
Niagara’s Ramone Snowden drains another three-pointer to put the Purple Eagles ahead of Iona.

Through 19 games, the sophomore has made 31 three-pointers, two more than he made all of last season. The Virginia Beach native has been adept at finding his own shot and setting up his teammates.

“I have confidence in my shot, coach preaches every day, keep shooting, keep shooting and next one is going to go in, don’t get down on it,” Snowden said.

The sophomore has averaged 14.5 ppg over the last seven games, scoring double-digit points in every contest. He’s learning how to pick his moments.

“If need to pass, I need to pass, rebound, whatever we can do to make this team win,” Snowden said. “Help us build, be stronger in the future.”

While the record doesn’t show much transformation from a season ago, the changing of the roster does. Only four other teams in the nation are younger than the Purple Eagles, who sit with a 2-8 record in conference play. However, the players on Niagara have said that they feel more unity this season and it has showed during difficult times.

“I do think this group has a little different level of closeness, they’re for each other and I enjoy going into practice everyday and coaching them,” Casey said. “With the difficulties we’re going through right now, they don’t come in with bad attitudes or thinking about themselves or feeling sorry for themselves, they come in and they work every day.”

“I’m very fortunate to be able to coach this group, we just keep moving forward and hopefully they stay close and they keep working like they’re doing and eventually we’ll get some breakthroughs.”

Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2014-15 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.


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