Shamorie Ponds won the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association’s Haggerty Award as the best New York City-area college basketball player of the year. Chris Mullin, Ponds’ head coach, also won the award, as has Dick McGuire and Ron Artest among others.
Justin Simon will also be recognized tonight at the All-Met College Basketball Awards Dinner; Simon was selected to the All-Met Second Team.
Ponds made the first team of the Big East and led the Red Storm in scoring 21 times, scoring just under 22 points per game.
Per the NY Post, Ponds has workouts with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics, hoping to get invited to the NBA Draft Combine in May (May 16-20 in Chicago).
Ponds, who has until May 30th to return to school or leave for the pros, says he’s 60/40, leaning towards staying in the Draft.
“It’s hard decision right now. It’s probably 60/40 [staying in the draft]. It’s a decision that could set me and my family for life. We’re not the wealthiest. We’re not poor. I could move me and my [family] out of the projects, put my brother and sister in good positions.”
For those who just reached for their paper bags, inhalers and panic buttons, note that Ponds is still rarely on NBA Draft boards, and his father has said his son will not leave school to go undrafted or even for the second round.
When the Rumble spoke to scouts, they noted that he holds promise, but likely needs to show more. the NY Post piece gets similar feedback:
Scouts have told The Post it would behoove Ponds to return to school to boost his 42 percent shooting percentage, get stronger physically, improve his decision-making and further develop his playmaking abilities as a point guard.
Ponds, a sophomore but still only 19, could return for his junior year and possibly increase his draft stock playing alongside another scoring guard in Mikey Dixon, as he did in his freshman year playing next to Marcus LoVett.
Ponds’ offensive efficiency was far higher in his freshman year (1.14 points per possession versus 1.05 as a sophomore) and his perimeter shooting, in particular, was poor last year for a player of his size.
Still, if Ponds chooses to go pro, he should have a shot, with hard work, to make money overseas and make it to the NBA — or even work his way in from the fringes of the league.
As for St. John’s, the team would take a hit without Ponds, but:
- the pair of Mikey Dixon and Justin Simon with newcomer LJ Figueroa could pack some scoring punch.
- Marvin Clark II would need to be as good as last season.
- Sedee Keita and Josh Roberts/ Marcellus Earlington would need to provide scoring inside.
- Greg Williams and Bryan Trimble would need to combine to be a two-force.
- Boubacar Diakite and any late addition would need to contribute
These are reasonable asks, assuming the players are on the same page and the coaching staff does an effective job coaching them into a focused defensive force once again. A team that was at the bottom of the standings still looks like one that could slide up in this Big East, whether Ponds returns or not.