GREENSBORO — Xavier Sneed has embraced his time with the Greensboro Swarm.
He hasn’t considered it merely a stopover en route to the NBA, but a vital part of his development.
“I was just being a sponge,” Sneed said. “I feel myself coming along. It has been good.”
Sneed recently returned from a 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, making his NBA debut. He appeared in games against the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers.
“It’s always been my dream to be in the NBA,” Sneed said. “Anything can happen, especially with what’s going on (with so many roster adjustments).”
Sneed took what might be considered an old-school path to the NBA. He was a four-year player for Kansas State, then undrafted in 2020.
But there was still a way forward.
“It’s a testament to how hard he has worked,” Swarm coach Jordan Surenkamp said. “He’s one of the most reliable players we’ve had. When ‘X’ was able to come back (from the Grizzlies), he obviously has a new level of confidence. It keeps the carrot dangling in front of him.”
Surenkamp said that Sneed has understood the process and accepted that there might be twists and turns in reaching his preferred destination.
“I think he’s very comfortable with where he’s at,” he said.
This has been more than a one-season endeavor for Sneed.
He has made a connection with the Swarm, noting that this is his second season with the team. Of course, last year those games were played in a bubble environment in Florida as there were no Swarm games in Greensboro.
But that helps explain why it’s so important to Sneed that his professional foundation was set with the Swarm. He has started every game for the Swarm this season.
After more than a month without a home game, the Swarm is scheduled to play three times in four days at the Fieldhouse.
“We’re a very capable team,” Sneed said. “We’re here to get it going and to have that good energy again.”
Sneed has been called upon to defend opposing point guards to power forwards. He said he likes the versatility involved with showing that he can defend four different positions. He said there are benefits that could emerge with a reputation on defense. Enhancing that is one of his goals in the coming weeks.
“Staying consistent with my numbers and being a threat on the defensive end,” he said.
Sneed isn’t alone among Swarm players to benefit from a 10-day NBA contract. Cameron McGriff also is back with the team after time with the Portland Trail Blazers.
A ‘new’ season
The G League had a different format this season, with a dozen Showcase Cup games contested before a pair of games for each team in Las Vegas.
The Swarm went 3-9 in the first portion before splitting the two games in Las Vegas.
Greensboro is 2-0 after winning twice last weekend to begin the regular season, which was delayed because of COVID concerns and in the Swarm’s case reduced from 36 games to 33. Now the schedule should hit a better rhythm.
“Getting out and playing against other teams gives us a barometer,” Surenkamp said. “I think there has been a lot of growth on our roster.”
It’s also a time that serves as a test of mental stamina. When the schedule kicks into gear, preparation becomes important in off-court studying sessions that are linked to practices.
“It’s teaching our young guys,” Surenkamp said. “This is a new experience for a lot of our guys.”