Chris Mullin and his staff have reeled in their first recruit for their 2016-17 class as St. John's announced Thursday that 2016 guard Shamorie Ponds officially signed his National Letter of Intent.
"We are thrilled to welcome Shamorie to St. John's University and our basketball family," Mullin said in a statement. "His commitment to St. John's has set the tone for the future of our program as we strive to keep New York's top talent home."
The 6'1" Brooklyn native and 41st ranked player on ESPN's top 100 recruiting list for 2016 chose the hometown Johnnies over Minnesota, Providence and Creighton. Ponds is the 12th ranked player in the country at his position and is the third best player in New York state.
Mullin has preached about landing the best players in the New York City area and landing a prospect of the caliber of Ponds is certainly a step in the right direction for the rebuilding process.
"Shamorie strengthens our foundation as we continue to build the program from the ground up," Mullin said. "He's a crafty guard with a tremendous work ethic. Shamorie will fit well into our system."
The Brooklyn native, who is the highest rated local product to commit to the Red Storm since 2011, averaged 25 points, nine rebounds and six assists as a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School. He led the school to the PSAL Class AA City League semifinals last year by averaging 24 points and six rebounds in five playoff games.
On the summer EYBL circuit, Ponds broke out and raised his recruiting profile, averaging 16.2 points and 2.5 steals in 22 games with the New York Lightning.
Ponds has unlimited range, solid handles, great playmaking ability and effective passing skills, which will give the Johnnies another combo guard who can play on and off the ball. The guard will ease the burden on Marcus LoVett, Malik Ellison and Federico Mussini while also giving the Red Storm a consistent shot creator, something they are desperately lacking this season.
The Johnnies remain in the mix for German small forward Richard Freudenberg, former Christ The King small forward Rawle Alkins and JUCO prospect Bashir Ahmed. The program also is recruiting five-star seven-foot big man Thon Maker, but are likely on the outside looking in with Kentucky, Indiana, Notre Dame and Arizona State keeping a close eye.