Today is the day that Linas Kleiza could see his dream of playing in the NBA start to come true. Kleiza, who left the University of Missouri after two seasons, has is name in the pool for the 2005 NBA Draft, which will get underway Tuesday night. While inconsistent at times, Kleiza was MU’s statistical leader in points (16.1 ppg) and rebounds (7.6 rpg). Tiger head coach Quin Snyder thinks Kleiza has both the ability and mind-set to do well professionally.
“He’s incredibly confident. I think there’s part of him that’s got a swagger about him that I think will bode well for him,” Snyder said.
One area of Kleiza’s game that many would agree needs improvement is where and when he launches outside jumpers. Many were concerned that he spent too much time around the arc and shot three’s at curious times, as opposed to passing or working the ball inside. Snyder said, “I don’t think he always took great shots, to be quite frank. I think he’d be goes to a team that doesn’t necessarily need his services right away.
“Having the opportunity to be on a veteran team with some guys on the team that can grab him by the ear and say, ‘Hey this is how we’re doing this, Linas,’ will be something that he can really respond to,” said Snyder.
Even though Kleiza’s departure the first one to admit that. But I really think he can shoot the ball.”
Before a season-ending injury his freshman year, Kleiza began to assert himself as a vocal leader on the court and that role continued during his sophomore season. While he has the head-strong personality NBA coaches are looking for, Snyder believes Kleiza might thrive better, earlier, if he will leave a big statistical hole for the Tigers, Snyder has given him his blessing, “It’s time for him, he’s ready to go. We talked about not having one foot in and one foot out and he’s got both feet in.”