With some of his future St. John's teammates in attendance, four-star recruit Shamorie Ponds put forth a strong individual effort in the Jordan Brand Classic at the Barclays Center.
Ponds scored 17 total points on 7-of-15 shooting, but he was unable to lead the West team over De'Aaron Fox's East team, losing 131-117 on Friday night.
The Brooklyn native received the loudest ovation during introductions, but he struggled in the opening half, turning the basketball over, missing shots from downtown and failing to get his shot off at the rim. He had just two points at the break and looked out of rhythm.
In the second half, Ponds scored 15 points, knocked down his lone three of the night and broke down the defense consistently. The point guard had just two assists and three turnovers, but he finished tied for second on the West team in scoring. Only Malik Monk put up more points (22) and he received the co-MVP award.
Meanwhile, Yankuba Sima, Kassoum Yakwe and Federico Mussini were spotted supporting Ponds a few rows up from center court. The 6'1" guard was at almost every Red Storm home game this past season and the entire Johnnies roster was in attendance for Ponds' high school playoff game at Carnesecca Arena last month.
It looks like the chemistry is headed in the right direction already.
While the Jordan Brand Classic is only an All-Star game (it's tough to make definitive conclusions without defense), Ponds is a slick ball handler with effortless range and solid quickness. He is excellent in transition (which is great news for St. John's), he doesn't back down when he has the ball in his hands and his confidence is through the roof.
Ponds is also very savvy and creative around the rim.
His lack of strength and size is evident and his jumper will have to become more consistent, but the potential is clearly there. Ponds will have an entire offseason to work on his game with two Hall of Famers and a solid coaching staff, so there is no doubt he will improve over the next six to seven months.
Overall, the combo guard impressed in the final game of his high school career.
Now, the next stop is St. John's.