Heading into his sophomore year in Queens, the preseason recognition has started for St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds. Earlier today he was named to the shortlist for the Jerry West Award, recognizing the nation’s top shooting guards.
Ponds finds his name alongside some of the nation’s top shooting guards: Allonzo Trier (Arizona), Grayson Allen (Duke), Marcus Foster (Creighton), and Khadeen Carrington (Seton Hall).
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame introduced the award four years ago. Past winners include Malik Monk (Kentucky), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), and D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State).
Ponds exploded onto the scene as a freshman last season, averaging 17.4 points per game (fifth among all Big East players) while shooting over 43% from the field.
The Brooklyn native set the program’s all-time freshman scoring record with 547 points. In his 31 games last season (which were all starts), he was only held to single-digit scoring twice and reached 20 or more points 11 times.
His signature performance during the season came late in December over 13th ranked Butler. Ponds had 26 points and iced the game with four points from the free throw line late in the game.
“He’s a really phenomenal player but he also has that personality and demeanor on and off the court. He’s a competitor,” Mullin told ESPN reporters after that game last season.
Ponds became an impact defender as well, averaging over two steals per game. He led the conference in that category. Ponds became the first freshman to lead the conference in that category since the late 90s.
Ponds’ numbers went up as Big East play got tougher. 17.4 points per game turned into almost 18, and his average steals per game also increased against Big East opponents.
His body of work throughout the whole season landed him a spot on the Big East All-Freshman team alongside his teammate and backcourt mate Marcus LoVett. Both Johnnies were unanimous selections.
Shamorie Ponds and LoVett blossomed into one of the best freshmen backcourts in the nation last year. With both returning, there is a lot of optimism in Queens with the season just around the corner.