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Shamorie Ponds declares for the NBA Draft

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Ponds will not “close any doors”; has not hired an agent, and can return to St. John’s.

Wendell Cruz

As expected, St. John’s sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds has declared for the NBA Draft after averaging nearly 22 points, five assists and two steals per game, with explosive, high-profile outings (44 against Marquette at home, 33 against Duke and at home against Georgetown).

But do not freak out, if you are prone to freaking out.

The Brooklyn guard, the best player of Chris Mullin’s tenure, will not hire an agent, and has made this decision with the staff’s blessing.

Ponds specifically states in his Instagram post that he’s using this opportunity that all NCAA players have to “test the waters,” finding out more information about his NBA Draft prospects and ways he can improve his skill set for the highest level of basketball.

He says:

My plan is to get as much NBA experience and knowledge as possible. In addition, I do not want close any doors. I’ll like to keep all my options open. Also, to get some proper evaluations on my game would be helpful to me. To conclude, I believe this was a smart decision because not only you can get a chance to experience the NBA, but you can also return back to college. I am thankful for everybody that helped grow as a person and a player over the past year. Most importantly the man above because with out him, none of this would of been possible. Wish me luck on my journey

Given the fact that Ponds is not high on any NBA Draft boards this year, even after the spectacular games, and given the fact that Ponds does not seem to show any confounding factors such as being old for his year or being singularly focused on going pro against sage advice, we would expect that Ponds would be back.

Of course, Shamorie could be intriguing to some team that gives him a guarantee in the late first round, or could get an assurance to be picked in the second round. He is a dynamic shot-creator, a solid passer, crafty to get his shot off and score in the paint against any opponent and a player who can force steals right out of an opponents’ hands.

But his size — 6’1” and not otherworldly in his speed — will be a factor. As will his outside shooting percentages, which have been unsightly since the beginning of Big East play his freshman year.

Ponds has obvious areas of improvement — better decision-making as the lead guard and taking better shots from beyond the arc.

The chance to get evaluations from NBA Scouts to his face will be helpful. Scout advice helped hone Bashir Ahmed’s game over the summer, and Ahmed played a bit more under control this season in response.

Ponds, per the NY Post, will not leave to be a second-round pick.

If he did leave, the Johnnies would likely lean more on Justin Simon and incoming transfer guard Mikey Dixon, plus incoming freshman guard Greg Williams and returning shooter Bryan Trimble, Jr.

Obviously, the Johnnies would prefer to see Ponds return to improve on this year’s disappointing 16-17 record.