Since joining the St. John's program this summer, head coach Chris Mullin and assistants, Matt Abdelmassih and Barry 'Slice' Rohrssen, have been adamant that the best way to bring the Johnnies back to the top of the Big East Conference is to keep the New York homegrown talent in Queens.
Well, they are off to a very solid start as St. John's was able to reel in a commitment from 2016 Brooklyn shooting guard Shamorie Ponds on Tuesday. He is now the highest rated New York recruit to chose the Red Storm since Moe Harkless joined the team in 2011.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Just jumped up and down as people looked at me weird at my hotel in Prague. Great day for St John's & NYC <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sjubb?src=hash">#sjubb</a></p>— Matt Abdelmassih (@mabde33) <a href="https://twitter.com/mabde33/status/648931770713378816">September 29, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Ponds, who announced his decision at a press conference at his high school Thomas Jefferson, was down to St. John's, Providence and Creighton. He took officials to all three schools, but the lure of playing close to home and the opportunity to show his talents at 'The Mecca of Basketball,' Madison Square Garden, was too much for the Blue Jays and Friars to overcome.
Earlier in the week, Ed Cooley and Providence received a verbal from Richmond point guard Maliek White, signaling that Ponds was likely staying in The Big Apple.
The lefty guard is ranked 41st on ESPN's top 100 recruiting list for the class of 2016 because of his versatility (he can play on or off the ball), his knockdown jump shot, unlimited range and quick hands defensively. His skills are off the charts and will continue to improve but Ponds must get stronger in order to handle the physical play that consists in the Big East.
He will team with Frederico Mussini, Marcus LoVett and Malik Ellison in what will be a young but talented backcourt.
This is the first top 50 recruit and the second prospect (Kassoum Yakwe) from the New York area that Mullin has added. That early success could have a positive impact on former Christ The King star Rawle Alkins and Bronx native Bashir Ahmed, who are both being heavily recruited by the Red Storm.