“He’s not big enough.”
“I don’t think he has the quickness to play here.”
“Is he a good enough shooter?”
Hot take, after hot take, after hot take.…………
No locally grown and developed UofL Men’s Basketball player has perhaps ever been more second guessed and unfairly criticized than one Quentin Snider. Over the past four years, an astronomical amount of talking heads (I’m probably guilty at some juncture) this side of the Mississippi River have pronounced every reason humanly possible as to why Snider, or “Q” as he is affectionately referred to, has been incapable of being good enough to lead the Cardinals. And through all the criticism Snider, who has experienced arguably the most roller coaster-esque playing career of any UofL player to come before him, will play his last home game tonight in the city where he was born, raised and often doubted.
A LITTLE OVERRATED – PROVEN WRONG
As a self-proclaimed basketball junkie w/a slew of bad takes once living in Louisville, I began closely following Snider’s playing career soon after he began suiting up at Ballard High School. I had heard his name for a couple of years leading up to my first time seeing him play through some guys I knew with AAU ties. I remember how high my expectations were and coming away a little disappointed after seeing him in person at The King of the Bluegrass.
Then it hit me, the kid who I had expected to see drop 30+ points on an opposing nationally ranked high school was just a FRESHMAN, probably not old enough to drive a car at the time. Forming any type of opinion then with more than 1% validity would have proven to be asinine as Snider would go on to become Ballard’s all-time leading scorer, surpassing the likes of Lee Raker, Jeff Lamp, Allan Houston and yep, Dejuan Wheat.
In looking back what were my expectations that December night? They were unrealistic at a minimum, selfish in reality. As Louisville Basketball fans, we sometimes place a level of importance on winning that, at times, hinges on insanity and in that vein, doubting Snider’s ability to become an elite high school player wasn’t the end of hesitation and suspicion for many after he de-committed from Illinois and signed a letter of intent at his hometown school.
CAN’T PLAY HERE – PROVEN WRONG
Nothing about Snider’s career at UofL has been what many would label as “normal.” Many will recall that it was only half way through his freshman campaign, a season that was to be one of watching and learning, that Snider was joust into the starting lineup due to teammate Chris Jones’ departure from the team. It certainly wasn’t an ideal transition, but Snider stepped up big and rose to the occasion leading a team that came within one made free throw from going to a Final Four. “Q” had proven once again that he was not only good enough to belong and play at UofL but talented enough to make a real difference.
The storm of controversies, scandals and program embarrassments that followed Snider’s freshman season would have been enough for most to transfer. A walk down memory lane regretfully reminds us Card fans that Snider and his teammates experienced the unjust decision of a self-ban from post season play - a decision that would have given any current player the right to be outspoken and selfish. Snider & Co. also had to sit back and answer questions about a sex scandal that they had nothing to do with. They had to read the articles about why their head coach should be fired and how the school should be punished with the cherry on top of the controversy cake being the nightmare of having to deal with an FBI probe related to a player Quentin and his teammates would never play alongside.
And through all the muck, uncertainties, sports radio hot takes and social media hysteria, Snider has never lost focus despite having to tackle his own personal naysayers. He has represented the University of Louisville in a way that we as fans can be proud of despite having to constantly prove himself over and over.
DEAD IN THE WATER – STILL PROVING WRONG
With the final chapter of Snider’s UofL playing career now coming to an end, he has earned our high regard. By busting onto the scene in an improbable 2015 NCAA Tourney run, to leading the Cards to a huge home win over Kentucky in 2017, to scoring over a thousand points in his career, Quentin Snider deserves our respect and a Louisville Basketball fans’ undying support. In a “must win” during the now completed regular season, Snider hit a career high seven shots from behind the arc and lead the Cards to a huge win at Virginia Tech with 22 points. It ended up not mattering in the end as it relates to an NCAA Tournament birth, but in the moment that win was huge.
Snider’s final home game at the KFC Yum Center couldn’t be more indicative of Snider’s basketball playing career. Despite the accolades and flashes of brilliance, there is an under the radar quality. While Louisville fans will once again prove their amazing fandom but showing up in droves for an NIT game, the rest of the country while be talking about the NCAA Tournament matchups this Thursday and Friday.
Quentin Snider is a winner, in more ways than one…..both on the court and in life. And win or lose tonight against a solid Mississippi State team, if we have learned nothing at all from Q we should remember that real leaders rise up in times of adversity by staying steadfast, never wavering and giving their collective best. And that is something that we as Louisville fans can and should respect in these turbulent times. Brighter days lie ahead as Louisville Basketball will eventually rebound in every aspect. Guys like Quentin Snider will forever be one of the ways that UofL weathered the storm and came out better on the other side. And that can never be vacated.