by Josh Adams
New York- The question that was on every St. John’s fan minds this off-season has finally been answered. Shamorie Ponds is returning to the Red Storm. The first team all Big East Conference guard will be returning to Queens for his junior year after working out for several NBA teams before the draft. Ponds did not sign with an agent and will return to campus to take the helm of a Red Storm team that might turn some heads in 2018-19.
The news was first reported by Jon Rothstein and Zags Blog.
Ponds, a native of Brooklyn, NY, had a stellar campaign in 2017-18 for St. John’s, averaging 21.6 ppg. for a Red Storm team that had a disappointing 16-17 record last season.
In making the decision to stay, Ponds returns to a veteran team that will have the additions of Quinnipiac transfer Mikey Dixon and Odessa (CC) transfer LJ Figueroa.
Ponds picked up many awards and accolades last year. He was the Haggerty Award winner for the best college player in the region as well as garnering all-Big East First Team honors. He led the Big East in scoring, minutes played and steals. Ponds had a remarkable stretch during three consecutive games last season in which he scored 33 and 26 points respectively in the Red Storm wins against Duke and Villanova. He topped off the stretch with a season high 44 points in a win over Marquette.
Ponds was not invited to the NBA Combine but tweeted pictures of workouts with the Nuggets and the Lakers. Ponds clearly felt slighted with not getting the combine invite and will return to New York this season with a chip on his shoulder. In addition to Ponds returning, The Red Storm could still add Auburn’s leading scorer Mustapha Heron who announced his intention to transfer on a hardship waiver (http://www.zagsblog.com/2018/05/29/auburns-mustapha-heron-to-withdraw-from-nba-draft-transfer-closer-to-home/) and has stated that St. John’s is one of the teams he is considering.
Expectations will be through the roof in Queens as Chris Mullin and his team will look to achieve their first winning season in his tenure. With Villanova losing key players in the NBA draft and many other perennial Big East contenders losing players to graduation, the conference is more even than it’s been in previous years. It’s an opportunity for Ponds to add to his St. John’s lore by taking the Red Storm back to the postseason. If he has the same kind of production and the Red Storm improve their win-loss record next year, Ponds will certainly be selected not just for the 2019 NBA Combine but also by an NBA franchise in the 2019 NBA Draft.