Tony Snell, Glen Rice Jr. highlight pre-draft workout

ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — The battle was so intense between Glen Rice Jr. and Tony Snell during Tuesday’s draft workout at the Cousins Center that all Snell could do was smile and laugh when asked about it.
The two wing prospects went at it as the main attraction in Milwaukee’s first draft workout, as Rice and Snell were joined by Syracuse forward James Southerland, Iowa State guard Will Clyburn. Marquette point guard Junior Cadougan and Dakota State guard Tyrone Gordon filled out the workout. 
Afterward, Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney said the four in Milwaukee on Tuesday are wing players that the team is looking at right now. 
Different mock drafts have Rice, Snell and Southerland all over the places. Rice is ranked as the 23rd best player in the draft by ESPN.com’s Chad Ford, going 26th overall by Draft Express, but going 34th overall by NBADraft.net.
Ford has Snell as the 33rd best player in the draft, while NBADraft.net has the former New Mexico guard going 19th overall. Draft Express has Snell going 35th overall. 
“They both did very well,” McKinney said. “They competed against each other. I think the one thing that Glen understands is that college players have a lot of exposure. New Mexico had a great team this year. He’s the same age as these guys and he’s trying to establish some dominance. Tony is a competitor. These guys are competitors. They like to perform, and they did a great job today.”
Rice, who said Tuesday’s workout with the Bucks was more competitive than his first workout with the Bulls, has the most unique story in the draft. Kicked off Georgia Tech’s roster in March of his junior season, the son of former NBA forward Glen Rice Sr. decided to spend a season playing in the NBA’s Developmental League. 
Because he never declared for the NBA Draft and never finished his collegiate career, Rice is eligible for this year’s draft in a rules loophole that has yet to be used. 
Though he spent a lot of time on the bench until late January, Rice made tremendous strides in all aspects of his game playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. 
“It’s humbling,” Rice said of his time in the D-League. “Just bigger guys and better if you ask me because you are out there playing against NBA guys that are assigned, guys are elite college players or overseas players.”
By early February, Rice had passed those above him on the depth chart and was one of Rio Grande Valley’s most important players and ended up averaging 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in the regular season.
His shining moment came in the D-League postseason, averaging 25.0 points and 9.5 rebounds per game while being named D-League Finals MVP leading the Vipers to the championship.  
“I watched one of the (finals) games and he was very good,” McKinney said. “Playing in the D-League, I think out of all the draft players this year he might be the most ready to play in the NBA because of his experience playing with a lot of former NBA players.
“He shoots the ball really well. He has are a really good feel for the game. He has a nice all-around game. He does a nice job on defense, as well.”
What’s most talked about with Rice isn’t what he did in the D-League, but the reason why he was there in the first place. While he may have gotten more out of playing against more developed players, the incident that led to Rice’s dismissal from Georgia Tech is leading to many questions from prospective teams.
An officer got word of a shot being fired outside of an Atlanta nightclub, one day before the Yellow Jackets opened up play in the ACC tournament. Police later pulled over a Cadillac Escalade that Rice was a passenger in. A graduate assistant was driving and had an odor of alcohol, according to the police report. 

The other passenger admitted to firing the gun, claiming it went off by accident. Rice was charged with permitting unlawful operation. 

“One of the things that happens when young people make mistakes, and we all have to be reminded that these young players are in the spotlight,” McKinney said. “We can all look back to times when we were in our 20’s, we all make mistakes. When you are in athletics and you are a top player for a team, everything that you do is blown out of proportion typically. He’s learned from that experience. Talking to Glen, that’s one of the things he’s talked about. He’s learned from it. He’s moving forward from that.
“Glen has had to overcome a lot of adversity. He had to leave Georgia Tech and as a result he’s had to grow up a tremendous amount as a person as a result of the adversity he’s experienced.” 

Rice is trying to prove to teams in the interview process exactly what McKinney’s thoughts on the incident were. 
“The main thing I’m just trying to show them is that I’ve matured greatly,” Rice said. “All that stuff is in the past. It was a mistake that I made and that I learned from it is the main thing that I want to show people.”

He’s also out to show teams he’s improved as a player since his college days. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Rice is a big shooting guard that can play small forward. He has the ability to post up smaller guards in addition to his shooting ability. 

“That’s the main thing I try to show, as well as shooting,” Rice said. “I’m a big guard. I’m out here bigger and longer. Just playing in the D-League was a big adjustment since they are grown men out there. That helped me work on my strength.” 
His workout partner has similar things to prove. After averaging 12.5 points per game for New Mexico last season, Snell surprised many by declaring for the draft. He said Tuesday he heard from many that he had “made a dumb decision” and “wasn’t ready” for the NBA.

Through his career with the Lobos, Snell has flashed his tremendous ability but has never consistently put it all together. Through his performance at last week’s combine, Snell has jumped from off many draft boards to being thought of as a first round pick.

“I think he’s one of the most talented and gifted players in this draft,” McKinney said. “His performances were up and down. Most young players will have that issue, but in terms of talent, I’ve watched him since he was a freshman and thought he was a guy who has been our radar for quite some time.

“His game set, actually his physique reminds me of former NBA player Darius Miles. Darius was a very talented player, a lottery pick, but Tony shoots the ball much better than Darius. I think he’s one of those guys who can go somewhere in the first round, he might slip into the second round. His workouts will be very critical to where he gets drafted.”
Like Rice, Tuesday was Snell’s second team workout. The 6-foot-7 guard stayed in Chicago to workout with the Bulls after the combine. He plans on taking a similar philosophy to all of his workouts prior to the draft.
“I’m just trying to my skills that I didn’t show in college,” Snell said. “Definitely show more consistency because that was a question mark when I came here. Just trying to show more consistency. 
“When I first came out, I had something to prove. I had to show my true skills and everything. It’s good that my hard work is paying off so far. I just have to keep working hard and see where it takes me.” 
While Rice and Snell could be options for the Bucks when they pick 15th in the upcoming draft, Southerland and Clyburn could be options in the second round. 
All four shot the ball well Tuesday, but Rice and Snell continued to open eyes. 
“It was tough,” Rice said of the workout. “A lot of competitors out here. We got out and competed and worked hard.”

Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.