With the new collegiate season almost upon us, the Red Storm faithful have a lot of things to look forward to this season - with a revamped, more talented roster that includes Brooklyn freshman guard Shamorie Ponds, a top-50 recruit.
In his second year with the Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin has his eyes set on a better year - and possibly a big year. When asked why he was so excited about the new season Mullin simply responded “we have players now”.
Coach Mullin has not set a lineup yet, but the possibility of a three guard lineup on the court is a possibility, with incoming point guard Marcus LoVett, returning combo guard Frederico Mussini, and the combo guard Ponds. With LoVett more of a true point guard, he would complement the shooting of Mussini and the multifaceted scoring of Ponds on the floor.
Ponds marveled that “[Lovett] brings leadership, a strong personality and I think it's going to help us get to where we want to go this year.” A redshirted freshman last season, LoVett was around the team last year. Head coach Chris Mullin believes that experience gives him an edge due to the fact that he sat in and participated in practices.
Aside from making a successful transition into the college game, Ponds ultimately wants to change the perceived trend - and have New York high school basketball players stay here for college like he did. Staying home was a large part of his decision, and he is excited about it. “I mostly made my decision because it was close to home,” Ponds said. “I’m not too far from home and my family can see me play. I also liked what Chris Mullin was preaching.”
Still, Ponds does not believe that just because he is a hometown kid that there will be an exorbitant amount of pressure placed on him to produce immediately for the program. “I wouldn't say that it is pressure,” Ponds replied. “I would say that it is me stepping up to the challenge and doing things that they said I can't do.”
Surprisingly, the freshman guard does not believe his biggest adjustment he will need to make is learning the college system, or being coached by a basketball Hall of Famer, it was actually opening up more and being more vocal.
“Coming out of high school I was a little quiet, and I didn't talk a lot,” Ponds told the Rumble. “It’s helping me on the court because in high school I didn't have to really do a lot [of talking] so I was laid back. But now I have to actually go out there and be a leader, play hard.”
Mullin and Shamorie seem to have the same mission statement for this season and the future, and that is to play St. John's back on the map.
Mullin, also a hometown product who turned down other offers to stay home, said he was happy that Ponds felt that he wanted to stay home and help the program become a perennial winner. Mullin added, “we always felt he was the perfect fit.”