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Boys Basketball: Adam Snelgrove tallies 1,000th career point

Adam Snelgrove became the second player in two seasons to score his 1,000th point in NY Mills. He accomplished the feat in the first half of a 75-56 loss to Ulen-Hitterdal. Bob Williams/FOCUS

For a player who has a distinct preference for baseball, this year has showcased the kind of athlete Adam Snelgrove has become. As one of the only players with experience on a young basketball team that has one win in 19 games, Snelgrove scored his 1,000-point Thursday night in Ulen.

"It's a learning year," Snelgrove said. "I knew we were going to be young."

Snelgrove was in the same shoes of the underclassmen he now mentors during his sophomore season--a year that ended with eight wins.

In between those two seasons, Snelgrove, with the help of last year's 1,000-point scorer Isaiah Bauck, led the Eagles to their best season since 2005. The Bauck-Snelgrove led team of last year put up 18 wins.

The difference between seasons has made Snelgrove have to adjust his game.

"Adam works hard in practice and has really improved on the defensive side of the ball this season," Eagles Head Coach Bryan Dunrud said. "Adam has always been very talented offensively, but he has had to change his style of play this season especially."

"He's never told me not to shoot," Snelgrove said. "I know I have a big offensive role."

"Last season, Adam was more of a catch and shoot style of player and this season Adam's role has changed to that of a ball handler that is asked to penetrate and distribute the ball, as well as being a catch and shoot style player," said Dunrud. "Adam also has been asked, at times, to take on the best offensive player from the opposing team, which he has been willing to accept and has experienced success with."

With a season expected to be far different from the prior and knowing wins would not come easy, the 1,000-point mark was an expected highlight for Snelgrove.

"I knew that I could get it," he said. "It was my goal to get it coming into the season."

According to Dunrud, Snelgrove accepted his role and has been a positive influence on a basketball team searching for positives.

"With Adam being the only experienced player returning from last season's team, he has been asked to do a lot this season and has really done a nice job staying positive and helping with our younger players," said Dunrud. "Adam's competitive nature and love for the game has made him a joy to coach over the last four seasons."

That competitive nature shows itself on the basketball court where Snelgrove is nearly a shoe-in for 20 points or more almost every night.

However, where Snelgrove shines brightest is the pitching mound.

Snelgrove led last year's NY Mills' baseball team to the Park Region Conference championship, the Section 6A championship and on to the state tournament. Making a return trip to state is the next goal.

"There is no doubt that Adam was a huge part of the success we had last year," NY Mills Head Baseball Coach Chris Bushinger said. "As the season went on, he got to be a tougher and tougher pitcher to face. He was able to pick spots and challenge hitters with his fastball, and when he mixed in on off-speed pitch or two, it made him tough. He put up remarkable numbers in the post season last year."

The Eagles baseball team will also feature many young players to go with Snelgrove and three other seniors: Maison Roberts, Sam Slieter and Kyle Vorderbruggen.

Many of the underclassmen have plenty of state experience from Babe Ruth to last year's run. Snelgrove will head up a rotation that features four solid arms, Tyler Patron, Brandon Kupfer and Roberts, whose pitching was rarely needed last season.

Kupfer returns after injuring a knee during the football season and his bat, glove and pitching will be needed to make Snelgrove's final sports goal of his high school career a reality.

"I'm pumped for baseball," Snelgrove said. "Ever since little league, we were pretty good."

The Eagles are set to repeat as both conference and section champions. Many teams in the section are down. Section runners-up Frazee will be rebuilding after losing their top two players.

"Adam is going to play a huge role in the upcoming season," Bushinger said. "Adam is a year older, a year stronger, and has a couple of years experience as a varsity pitcher, so a year smarter as well. We're going to need Adam to be one of our leaders out on the field. I look for him to have a great year on the mound. Our goal as a squad is for us to be playing our best ball when tournament time rolls around and for everybody to stay healthy--that's going to be one of the key s to having a successful season this spring."

After baseball, it's off to college for Snelgrove.

He will be attending North Dakota State University majoring in Construction Management. Thoughts on playing college baseball are somewhat on the back burner.

Snelgrove has spoken to NDSU head coach Tod Brown, but concerns about a back injury that was aggravated at last year's state tournament have hampered what could be a successful career pitching at the college level.

"I don't know if I really want to play," Snelgrove said. "I may walk on."

Snelgrove was approached by a number of smaller schools to pitch next year, but his focus is attending NDSU for an education and maybe baseball in that order.

Snelgrove is an easy-going young man with a flexible outlook on his future.

"Wherever life takes me," he said.

Snelgrove is a three-sport star at New York Mills High School, but his third sport is a little off the charts.

He was named an all-conference bowler his sophomore and senior year.

"It gets pretty intense," he said.

Bowling is a fall sport that is not sanctioned. It's more of a club team.

Snelgrove's other accomplishments are: all-sub-section last year and all-conference baseball last year, He was also awarded the Cy Young award for being the team's best pitcher.

In basketball, he was named all-conference, honorable mention as a sophomore, all-conference as a junior.

He's a two-time team playmaker award winner and was named captain of this year's team.

Snelgrove is the son of Rick and Diana Snelgrove. Adam's father Rick is a big proponent of baseball in the NY Mills area.

"He's been pretty excited about it too," Snelgrove said. "He knows his stuff when it comes to baseball. Mom, she's there for moral support."

Snelgrove's brother David also attended NDSU and played basketball for the Eagles.

Adam scored his first basket as a freshman when David was a senior.

"He said, 'You're only 998 points away.' I remember that."

After Thursday's game in Ulen, those points dreamt of three years ago are also now a memory.

Robert Williams

Sports Editor at the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

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