Snowden gets a breather in Villanova basketball role



January 01, 2003|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Sure, it wasn't a Big East matchup Friday night when Villanova junior point guard Derrick Snowden scored 15 points and handed out five assists to lead the Wildcats (7-4) to a 68-53 victory over Binghamton.

But Snowden (Archbishop Spalding) played the kind of basketball that coach Jay Wright wants, turning in 29 quality minutes, including committing only two turnovers and contributing a steal.

The key statistic of the evening was the 29 minutes, as opposed to the 33.3 Snowden averaged last season when he was the only point guard on the depth chart.

"Snow was the show" seemed to be the motto for the Villanova media last season, and the 6-foot player appeared to enjoy every minute of his ride to a 10.4 scoring average and 3.9 assists a game.

However, when the Wildcats' offense sputtered and they established a school record for turnovers for a second straight season, Snowden became a popular target for the critics.

"A lot of our turnovers last year were fatigue," said Snowden. "I didn't really think we threw that many bad passes. At times, I just think we might not have been expecting certain passes."

With freshmen Randy Foye (6-3) and Allan Ray (6-2) being added to the mix as talented guards this season, Snowden has averaged 28 minutes in the first 10 games for Villanova (6-4). He has raised his team-leading assist average to 4.6, though his point production has dropped to 7.6.

His assist-to-turnover ratio is 46 to 23, he is tied for the team lead in steals (10) and he is averaging 2.4 rebounds a game.

"I think the fact that we now have Randy and Allan here will be a big thing for me," said Snowden. "There were times in games last year when I had to conserve my energy and try to lay low so that I would have something at the end."

Wright said: "Derrick was thrust into a difficult circumstance last season. He never was a point guard in high school and we threw a lot of stuff at him that by the end of the year I think he saw how he could put his mark on that position."

Star for Charlotte

Demon Brown (Randallstown and Maine Central) was on a team-leading, season-long scoring tear for the North Carolina-Charlotte basketball team (5-5) until he ran into a roadblock called Louisiana-Lafayette.

Brown, another one of Baltimore's many talented point guards, hit just two of seven three-pointers for six points in a 68-47 loss Sunday, dropping his team-best scoring average from 18.2 points to 17.

Despite the 2-for-7 chill, the 6-1 junior is still 48 of 105 (45.7 percent) this season on threes.

He is second on the team in steals with 17, is third in assists with 20 and is averaging 2.6 rebounds.

UNC-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said: "Demon has matured a lot since his arrival here, but he still has the flash that makes him such a dangerous asset."

Nelson key for UMass

Katie Nelson and the 8-3 Massachusetts women's basketball team are still standing tall in national circles despite a rare lost weekend in Gainesville, Fla.

Nelson, a 5-7 sophomore point guard from McDonogh, and UMass began the weekend with a 78-70, double-overtime loss to Florida in the State Farm Classic, and then dropped an even tougher, 64-61 decision to No. 25 Michigan in the consolation game Sunday night.

UMass was outscored 8-0 by Michigan over the final 1:04. The Minutewomen were ever so close to gaining revenge for their first loss of the season (91-65 to Michigan on the road).

In the loss to the Wolverines Sunday, Nelson scored all 12 of her points in the first half on 4-for-9 shooting from three-point range.

She has a team-leading 45 assists to just 16 turnovers. She is averaging 37.8 minutes a game with 8.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 11 steals. She is 19-for-69 on three-pointers.

Have a Postcard? Contact Bill Free by e-mail at or by phone at 410-833-5349.

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