It took Xavier Sneed longer than expected to make a decision about his basketball future, but you won’t find any Kansas State fans complaining about that today.
Sneed announced late Wednesday that he will return to K-State for his final season of college basketball and lead the Wildcats as a senior.
That is great news for K-State.
With Sneed on the roster, the Wildcats will have an opportunity to reload next season as they look to replace departing seniors Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade. The rising senior wing is a versatile athlete capable of playing both forward positions and K-State’s top returning scorer. Alongside Cartier Diarra and Makol Mawien, K-State will have three dependable players in the starting lineup.
Without Sneed, K-State coach Bruce Weber would have had to get creative with a young group that lacked proven starters, depth and leadership.
The odd thing about his decision was that it long seemed like a formality that he would return to school. When Sneed declared for the NBA Draft as an early entrant last month he seemed to be in it only for the experience.
Sneed hoped to work out for a few professional teams, receive feedback from scouts and then return to college, where he would use that newfound knowledge to help lead the Wildcats as a senior.
That was the plan. But when he was still mulling over his options as the sun went down Wednesday and the withdrawal deadline of 10:59 p.m. approached, his future seemed uncertain. Things were tense for K-State fans.
Since declaring for the NBA Draft, Sneed had an active month. He worked out for the Sacramento Kings two weeks ago and then participated in the Professional Basketball Combine, where he measured 6-foot-6 and 210.2 pounds.
Sneed averaged 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds last season while helping the Wildcats win 25 games and share the Big 12 championship with Texas Tech.
He was not projected as a draft pick in online mock drafts, but he was thought to be a candidate for a roster spot in the NBA’s developmental league or an overseas team.
He still dreams of playing professional basketball, but he will try to improve his NBA stock with another year in college rather than in the pro ranks.
As a senior, Sneed will be the unquestioned leader of the team.
During his time in Manhattan, he has mostly operated in the shadows of Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade. Now, he figures to be the Wildcats’ go-to guy.