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One month impressions: Shamorie Ponds

Shamorie Ponds has been impressive - even as his outside shot has been a struggle.

Wendell Cruz

St. John’s Shamorie Ponds has exploded in the early going for Chris Mullin’s team.

And this, without his three point shot falling. We have been impressed with Ponds’ ability to be a Very Useful Engine for the 6-1 Johnnies this season, attacking the basket at every opportunity.

There’s the issue of his outside shooting which has been in the background all season long. Why? Because Ponds has become the definition of Finding A Way To Win.

The shot wasn’t falling against Oregon State. So he drew 15 free throw attempts and made them all.

He wasn’t getting buckets against UCF, scoring late in the second half for the first time. So he had nine defensive rebounds.

The outside shot wasn’t falling against Nebraska. So he drove inside and still got 22.

Ponds ha become the player who carries his team for stretches. There are places to improve - the shooting, really - but his defense has been impressive on the ball and he has pulled his team to wins.

If Ponds can keep it up, he’s a candidate to crack the Big East’s First Team honors at the end of the season.

FrankieVision Highlights: Shamorie Ponds vs Missouri

By the numbers

Best game: vs Missouri, 31 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 turnover

Leaderboards: 1st in Big East in field goal attempts (111), 1st in steals (68), 5th in defensive rebounds (36), 2nd in free throw attempts (42), 3rd in assists (33).

Ponds is averaging 19 points per game, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and two turnovers per game in 34 minutes, average, per contest. He is shooting 49% inside the arc and 21% from beyond the three-point stripe; and he is connecting on 93% of his free throw attempts.

In tempo neutral numbers, Ponds is using 29% of the team’s possessions, turning the ball over on 8.7% of those (the kind of number one usually sees for a strictly catch-and-shoot player), and rebounding 17% of opponent misses.

With the exception of the UCF game, Shamorie Ponds has scored in double figures every game this season - and has scored more than 20 points per game in four of the team’s contests.

And he’s also one of the team’s best defensive rebounders. At 6’1”.

And he leads the Big East in steals per game, field goal attempts, is top five in assists.

The numbers are even more surprising when looking at his rate numbers, where he has a 29% usage rate, is turning over the ball on eight percent of his possessions, assisting on 30% of the team’s shots, grabbing nearly 17% of the available defensive rebounds...

That’s a star.

And that’s a star who is shooting a solid 49% inside the arc but 21% outside of it.

Those struggles are a real issue in the early going. is it a matter of rhythm? A matter of Ponds needing to create his own shots (which he did last year as well)? Is it just the ebb and flow of outside shooting?

It’s the great question St. John’s needs to solve. Because if Ponds can shoot it from outside, too, he can and will drop 40 points on an opponent.