One amazing tidbit about Shamorie Ponds (to this writer, anyway) is how Ponds adapted, game by game, to his situations. He played off of Marcus LoVett well, despite the two being guards who like the ball to generate offense. He became a passer in games where LoVett was sidelined. He carried the team to wins even when his outside shot wasn’t falling.
Somehow, St. John’s has one of the best returning sophomores in all of college basketball, a hometown player who is expected to lead the Red Storm to new heights.
Can Shamorie Ponds, 6’1” and crafty as a scorer, do the job? Can he be even better?
What if he actually still has a sophomore leap to make?
By the numbers
Shamorie Ponds, scoring rate stats, all games
Shamorie Ponds, non-scoring stats, all games
Shamorie Ponds, scoring stats, conference games
Shamorie Ponds, non-scoring stats, conference games
Three Things about Shamorie Ponds
Surprises in the stat lines. Ponds was expected to be a solid scorer for the Red Storm. But Chris Mullin found a player who, despite his small size, did a little bit of almost everything on the floor (except blocking shots).
Ponds could pass, could score in the mid-range, could draw fouls, could shoot at difficult angles, AND he could rebound a little bit, play with toughness, generate steals (third-highest steal rate in the Big East)... impressive.
Defense. Ponds was a solid ball-hawk, active and quick with the hands. He can be a better on-ball defender, as Chris Mullin has asked for; the kind of defender whose steal stats may dip but whose winning percentage improves.
Shooting woes. In the Big East portion of his season, Shamorie Ponds shot 31%. Was it the physicality of the defense (seeing that Ponds went 0/6 against the roughhousing Old Dominion team too)? Was it the length of the defense?
Or was it just that consistency is needed from Ponds for him to tap into more of his potential? After all, he shot 1/8 against Delaware State, too.
Ponds has an excellent ability to find other shots when the jumper is not working; but St. John’s needs him to keep his stroke consistent. Scoring from his teammates will help the lefty scorer - as will another year in the weight room.
Ponds showed himself getting an x-ray on his shooting hand on social media, which should give Red Storm fans pause. Ponds is the most dynamic and versatile player on the roster, the one who strikes the most fear in opponents (not that his teammates aren’t also offensively devastating at their best).
But he can be a better defender. Can be a better shooter. And even at his size, can be the impact leader who can intrigue coaches at the next level as a scoring point guard.
The nuances of the game - the intensity, the angles - will continue to come to Ponds as he plays. And if he can improve the play of his teammates while maintaining his offensive efficiency and ability to be nearly turnover-free, St. John’s will knock on the door of postseason play.