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Shamorie Ponds declares for the NBA Draft

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The St. John’s junior still has a lot to prove in workouts

Wendell Cruz

On his Instagram page, Shamorie Ponds, the Brooklyn-bred starting point guard and all Big East Player, announced his intention to go into the NBA Draft with an agent.

From the school’s official release:

“Playing for St. John’s has been nothing but amazing for me,” said Ponds. “Coming to St. John’s was one of the best decisions of my life. After speaking it over with my loved ones, I want to announce that I will be entering the 2019 NBA Draft and hiring an agent.”

“We fully support Shamorie’s decision to pursue his professional goals,” said St. John’s Head Coach Chris Mullin. “Shamorie enjoyed one of the greatest careers in the history of our basketball program. It has been a true honor to coach him for the past three years and to watch him develop as a player and a person. We wish Shamorie nothing but the best as he chases his dreams.”

Ponds averaged 20 points per game as a junior, a slight drop from his previous year’s average, but showed some of the skills he needed to show — the ability to pass (assisting on 29% of his teammates’ made shots in a better offense), the ability to play within the team concept and better shooting from beyond the arc (35% from three) and inside the arc (52% from two).

He has quickness and skill. And this is known to be a weak draft for point guards after Ja Morant and Darius Garland.

That said, as a first-round NBA prospect, Ponds has a lot to prove. At 6’1” and 175 pounds, his size will always be a knock against him defensively.

For those with a subscription, the Athletic reached out to a pair of NBA executives and a pair of scouts, whose opinions ranged from “late first round pick” to “undrafted two-way player”.

Among the comments were “he’s crafty”; that his three-point shooting is better but still needs improvement; his defense is a knock; he’s “seen as [a] score first player with questionable shot selection”.

These notes highlight something about Ponds’ future: yes, he wants to be in the NBA and he will certainly get chances, but someone will pay him money to play ball in the NBA or G-League or overseas.

ESPN’s mock draft has Ponds going 46th, after point guards Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois) and Ashton Hagans (Kentucky) and Amir Hinton from Division II Shaw University.

Of note, the NCAA now allows, with certain stipulations, players to hire an agent to guide then through the draft process. The player needs to request evaluation from the NBA Undergraduate Advisory Committee by April 11th (the early entry deadline is April 21st).

But, the athlete:

  • can be represented ONLY by an NCAA-certified agent,
  • cannot accept benefits from anyone other than said agent,
  • cannot accept benefits before or after the NCAA’s timeframe
  • cannot participate in a tryout more than 48 hours except for the Draft Combine and the G League Elite Camp unless the athlete funds it himself.

More detail.