Michael Snaer: College Basketball’s Eli Manning


By Chris Mahr

Michael Snaer hit a driving scoop shot at the buzzer to give Florida State the win over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night. To say that he has a habit of doing this would be a bit of an understatement.

Snaer does not possess the dynamite scoring ability (13.9 PPG) expected from a player whom you would suggest when asked, “If you could choose one player to have the ball in their hands with the clock winding down, who would it be?” But time and again, he’s been “Mr. Clutch.”

The players from recent memory who we laud for their end-of-game abilities — Gerry McNamara, Kemba Walker, etc. — starred for the duration of games when they hit memorable buzzer-beaters. Snaer doesn’t have that same reputation. In fact, a common consensus on the Seminoles senior is that he’s overrated. (An Athlon Sports poll conducted before the preseason had him the third most overrated in the country, with 5.5% of the votes.)

Snaer’s ability to be okay-to-unimpressive in the first 39 minutes of a game and dynamite in the final 60 seconds is almost Eli Manning-esque. The Giants’ two-time, Super Bowl-winning QB has his fair share of detractors who say he’s overrated, yet time and again he puts it all behind him to lead his team to unlikely wins (most notably in that pair of Super Bowl victories).

Even with opponents now expecting him to be the one shooting with the game on the line, Snaer has delivered over and over just like Eli. Here now is a look back at each of the five game-winners Snaer has sunk over the past two seasons.

Jan. 21, 2012 at Duke

The moment that Austin Rivers tied it at 73-all, Snaer raced to the right corner of the Duke side of the floor. Biding his time while teammate Luke Loucks drove the length of the floor, Snaer set his feet and then released a shot that was good the moment it left his hands.

Feb. 16, 2012 vs. Virginia Tech

It’s almost a carbon copy of what transpired against the Blue Devils less than a month before. Even though Snaer was just 3-of-10 from the field at that point, you’d think that the Hokies would keep a close eye on him in the closing seconds. Instead, they were victimized by another shot that was nearly nothing but net.

Jan. 24, 2013 vs. Clemson

Nearly one year to the day after shocking Duke, Snaer did all the work himself against the Tigers. Granted, his shot put-esque shot wasn’t as pretty as his previous two buzzer-beaters — I doubt that he called glass — but it was just as effective. And based on the play-by-play guy’s reaction, he wasn’t all that surprised by the end result.

Jan. 30, 2013 vs. Maryland

When Snaer has time to set his feet, his shooting form is textbook. And he had plenty of time to do so at the conclusion of the game against the Terrapins. Snaer’s first game-winning trey from the left side of the arc capped off his best performance in ACC play thus far this season (19 points on 7-of-13 shooting).

Feb. 5, 2013 at Georgia Tech

Did Snaer get away with a push-off? Maybe. Regardless, his winning shot against the Yellow Jackets was the first one that didn’t come on a 3-pointer.

Now, Florida State’s leading scorer faces a challenge similar to one Eli Manning has faced before: Putting an underperforming team on his back and leading them to the postseason. At just 13–9 on the year, the ‘Noles have plenty of work to do. But rest assured that if they fight their way deep into the ACC Tournament and (fingers crossed) the Big Dance, “Mr. Clutch” will be lying in wait.

Chris Mahr is the managing editor of Lost Lettermen. His column appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can follow him on Twitter at @CMahrtian.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey/USA Today Sports

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