Shamorie Ponds, one of St. John’s latest shining hopes, recently put on a show on one of shigh school’s biggest stages.
By David Hong
Shamorie Ponds, who is one of the St. John’s Men’s Basketball Team’s biggest recruit for next season, has been putting on a show lately in high school’s biggest stages, that can truly encourage the Red Storm for the 2016-17 season.
About one week ago, Ponds led Thomas Jefferson High School to the PSAL title over Abraham Lincoln High School at Madison Square Garden.
Ponds had one of the biggest performances a high school player can have. He finished that championship game with 31 points, 12 rebounds, six steals and five assists in helping his school win the New York City high school title.
The last time Thomas Jefferson won a PSAL title was back in 1954 so Ponds forever cemented himself in Jefferson lore. His epic performance also earned him Co-MVP of the PSAL City Championship.
St. John’s head coach Chris Mullin was in attendance for that game, as well as his associate head coach Barry Rohrssen and assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih, who were both instrumental in recruiting Ponds to the Queens campus. After the game they all embraced Ponds.
Abdelmassih even took to Twitter with excitement:
— Matt Abdelmassih (@mabde33) March 13, 2016
That wasn’t it. Ponds then led Thomas Jefferson to the Federation Championship game, which is where the champions of NY’s districts meet to determine a state champion.
In Jefferson’s semifinal win over Long Island Lutheran, Ponds had a game-high 27 points but he scored 21 of those points in the second half, proving once again that he comes through when the lights shined the brightest.
Thomas Jefferson coach Bud Pollard said this about Ponds, via Elio Velez of MSG Varsity:
“He’s more of a second half player, Shamorie. If he’s in a game he will feel the game out, get his teammates involved. He’s just a very unselfish kid, at halftime I always have to tell him that he has to take over and he takes over.”
This is big for St. John’s, and a very encouraging sign for the college that struggled mightily this season. Ponds already proved that he can play in the biggest stages, destroying the opposition in big games.
He also seems to embrace the Garden spotlight with his breakout performance in the PSAL championship game. Being a New York guy himself, Ponds experienced past local area kids come in and rule the Garden floor in their collegiate careers, particularly in the Big East Tournament that’s always held at MSG.
Ben Gordon (Mount Vernon) and Kemba Walker (Bronx) led the University of Connecticut to the Big East title in 2004 and 2009 respectively. DeShaun Butler (Neward, NJ) did the same for West Virginia in 2010.
Finally this year, Brooklyn’s own Isaiah Whitehead led Seton Hall to this same title over the #1 ranked Big East squad Villanova. Whitehead had a huge game also, with 26 points.
“Going into next year, watching Seton Hall, I just want to come and do the same thing…do even better (for St. John’s),” said Ponds after his team’s PSAL victory.
Ponds could easily be the next city kid to shine in the Big East tourney at the Garden and what a huge boost that would be for St. John’s who hasn’t won their conference tournament since back in 2000 when another Brooklyn native Eric Barkley led the way.
That could also be a big reason why Ponds decided to stay home. There’s no better place to shine than at the World’s Most Famous Arena and no better place to do it than at St. John’s with their rich history and the original New York City basketball college.
— NYCHoops.net (@NYCHoops) March 12, 2016
Shout out to Thomas Jefferson HS for capturing the NYC public title behind 31 & 12 from SJU-bound Shamorie Ponds! pic.twitter.com/5zq2K41ahC
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) March 12, 2016