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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bulls introduce Snell as one of two additions

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By Daily Lobo file photo and Juan Labreche / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Former UNM shooting guard Tony Snell on Monday was introduced as the Chicago Bulls’ latest addition. Chicago drafted Snell with the No. 20 pick in last Thursday’s NBA draft.

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Now that the NBA draft is over and the Chicago Bulls selected Tony Snell with a first-round pick, it’s time for the former New Mexico shooting guard to learn the ins and outs of professional basketball, he told the city’s media Monday.

Snell arrived in Chicago on Sunday and was officially introduced as the newest addition to the team Monday. Snell, the 20th selection in Thursday’s draft, sat next to the Bulls’ second-round selection Erik Murphy of the Florida Gators.

Both players expressed their appreciation and excitement to join the team, saying they have a great deal to learn from the team’s veterans.

“My expectation is to bring my all every day, try to learn every day, pick it up as fast as I can and try to fit with the team,” said Snell, who will wear No. 20 on his jersey.

As a first-round selection, Snell should receive guaranteed money once the contract negotiations are complete. There are no such guarantees for Murphy.

Bulls general manager Gar Forman said at the press conference both players will begin workouts this week and play for the Bulls in the NBA Summer League, which runs July 12-22 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nev.

Echoing similar sentiments, Forman opened Monday’s conference touting Snell’s and Murphy’s work ethic and shooting abilities. The team also looked deeply into both players’ backgrounds, Forman said. In Snell, Forman said they saw a player who can do much more than pull up and shoot from the 3-point.

“In Tony’s case, we saw a guy who can be a secondary handler, that would push it out in transition, that could play off pick-and-roll situations some, that would even play some point guard and initiate offense out front,” Forman said.

Snell called his selection by Chicago a blessing, saying he’s watched the team since he was a child and it means a lot to him to have an opportunity to wear the Bulls jersey. He credits former UNM head coach Steve Alford with Snell’s development during their three years together.

“He did a lot for me,” Snell said. “He taught me a lot about the game and helped me get my footwork right, learn how to play the game, you know, college ball and helped me work hard. Anything I needed to improve on, he helped me improve on it.”

For now, Snell said his goal is to work alongside veteran Bulls players like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in order to learn Chicago’s system and the professional game. There will be an adjustment period, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said, but he wants Snell and Murphy to be complete players and fit into the system.

“The first part is the work part,” he said. “They have to learn how to be pro players, and then they have to learn our system, and then they have to learn the NBA. We think they’re both great workers. It’ll be a good fit.”