Despite a world of hot takes and big statements, getting the commitment on Tuesday from Shamorie Ponds doesn't mean that Chris Mullin is turning St. John's basketball around even before the team sets out on the court. (Where would the fun be in that if turning around a program were that easy?!)
The commitment of the left-handed 6-foot tall guard Ponds, from Brooklyn's Thomas Jefferson High School, doesn't mean he's putting a rope around NYC in recruiting, corralling all the bet players. Yes, Ponds is the city's best player. Yes, he's the first recruit for 2016. And yes, it could mean the start of a trend, but trends are best understood in retrospect.
What it does mean is that the Johnnies have a two-way scoring guard his family can come to every home game, a top-50 player who draws the attention of the media.
Here are some of the comments on the commitment.
The New York Post said:
Ponds was viewed for weeks as seriously leaning toward St. John’s. He was telling people close to him he planned to join Mullin’s program, though members of his family were concerned that staying local might hinder his growth and development. Ponds, a low-maintenance kid who would prefer to take extra jump shots than spend time on social media, said he made up his mind last week. But his dad, Shawn, said the entire family — which was split between his son staying home and going away — didn’t come to an agreement until Monday. Everyone agreed, however, that Mullin was the deciding factor.
From Sports Illustrated:
How will Ponds fit in when he arrives next year?
This off-season, St. John’s rebuilt its roster with a nine-man recruiting class featuring two four-star point guards, Italy native Federico Mussini and Morgan Park (Ill.) High’s Marcus LoVett. Still, the scoring-minded Ponds is talented enough to compete for playing time early in his college career, and Mullin could make good use of his scoring ability whether he starts or anchors reserve units.
From Scout Hoops:
...when St. John’s has been at its best as a program the best kids from the Big Apple have been playing in Queens for the Red Storm... Ponds, who is a four-star prospect and a big time scorer, makes up for St. John’s losing out on Mustapha Heron who despite being from Connecticut has New York City roots.... landing Ponds is huge as he shows that Mullin can keep high level talent at home.
from the Brooklyn Daily:
"I didn’t think he would be that tall or that athletic," said Jefferson coach Lawrence "Bud" Pollard. "The other day I watched him do a 360-backwards dunk. I didn’t see that as a freshman. He was a little chubby kid who was really good, and he got better."
Ponds is heading to a program that wants to get better too, with a fellow lefty scorer at the helm.
"I think Shamorie is going to be part of something that is going to build," said Shawn Ponds Sr. "St. John’s is going to build with Chris Mullin."