Knowing the Newcomers 2012: Gabe Snider
July 27, 2012
UICFlames.com: You have been familiar with the UIC program for a long time now, having committed to play for the Flames all the way back in February 2010. What specifically about this program was intriguing to you while being recruited?
Gabe Snider: I immediately clicked with Coach Moore when he first watched me play. He showed a lot of interest right off the bat, and talked about how I would fit in well with the system they were trying to put in at UIC. I liked the guys and the campus, and felt like I fit in, so I committed early. I wanted to be a part of what is being built here.
UICFlames.com: When you officially signed at UIC last November, coach Moore talked about you bringing a winning mentality to the Flames, based on your experience playing for a winning program at Whitney Young High School. What type of things did you learn during your high school career that will help you as you transition to college basketball?
Gabe Snider: Whitney Young is a great school. You learn a lot, not only on the court but off it, as well. My experience there helped me become a better person. I learned a lot of life skills, and I feel like I matured a lot in high school. It's already helping with the transition now that I'm a college student; I feel like I'm prepared for the academic and athletic challenges. On the court, our practices were very structured and very disciplined, and it's the same way here, so that experience has helped. In college, the game is faster and more physical; the competitiveness that we had within our team at Whitney Young is going to help me at this level.
UICFlames.com: You obviously grew up in Chicago. What specifically about the city made you want to continue your college basketball career in your hometown?
Gabe Snider: I thought about going away to college, but Chicago is a great city. There isn't anything that I'm missing out on, because I'm still in an urban area and a world-class city, one of the best cities in the world. A lot of kids want to go away to get that "college experience," but even though I'm only 10 minutes away from home, I don't feel that way. I'm living here on campus with my teammates, and getting acclimated to college earlier than most.
UICFlames.com: You were one of the top shooters in the state of Illinois last season. Do you describe shooting the ball as your biggest strength? How else would you describe your game to fans that didn't get a chance to watch you play in high school?
Gabe Snider: Shooting the ball is definitely my biggest strength, but I don't want UIC fans to think that's all I can do. I certainly had the reputation of a "shooter" in high school, but I've never really liked that characterization, because I know there is so much more I can do as a player. I like to be really active on the floor, particularly on defense. My ball-handling and court vision have also improved a lot, although there is definitely room for improvement there. I want to be known as a complete player, and one that can be relied upon to help this team win games.
UICFlames.com: Who were some of your basketball idols growing up? If anyone, who did you model your game after?
Gabe Snider: A lot of people have asked me that question. I really never had anybody that I watched on individual basis, or made it a point to watch play. I've watched a ton of NBA and college ball over the years, but never really made it a point to model my game after any one player. I watch the game as a whole, and pay attention to every player's strengths and weaknesses. Every player in the NBA got to that level for a reason; they're great basketball players, so you can take little things away from everyone you watch.
UICFlames.com: From playing in pick-up games and working out with all of your teammates during the past couple of months, what do you feel will be one of the main strengths of this team when the season tips off in November?
Gabe Snider: What's impressive to me is the amount of team chemistry we have, and that's really going to help us on the court. We've spent a lot of time together this summer, and I really think our chemistry is going to be a huge strength. I also feel like we have a lot of depth at every position, so there's going to be competition every day in practice. We definitely have the potential to be a good team this year.
UICFlames.com: What do you plan on majoring in at UIC?
Gabe Snider: I'm Undeclared right now, but I want to be a student in the Business school.
UICFlames.com: What are the elements of the game you feel you need to work on before the season tips off?
Gabe Snider: For me, it's going to come down to the details. At this level, there are so many parts of the game that we didn't focus on in high school, as specifically as you do in college. Once the details and the speed of the game become natural to me, I feel like I'll be ready. Playing so much this summer has really helped with a lot of those things.
UICFlames.com: The NCAA instituted a new rule this year that allows teams to practice up to two hours per week during the summer. How beneficial do you think being able to go through organized practice with your new coaches and teammates has been?
Gabe Snider: It's been great for me, and I think it's been great for our team. During our first practice in June, I didn't feel like I was entirely prepared for how things would be run at this level, because it was new to a lot of us. But now, I have a better understanding of the system, things are coming more natural, and I can just focus on making plays and helping my team in whatever way they need me. I feel like I'm already getting better as a player in this system. That's huge, because even though we have a lot of new players, we'll have a pretty solid understanding of the offense and some of the things we like to do within our system when the season starts.