After his Carnesecca Arena record 44 points last Saturday, St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds is putting St. John’s on the map nationally with his stellar scoring.
It’s been a while since St. John’s got the national attention in college basketball outside of a coaching replacement. Back in 2011-12, it was Steve Lavin’s team that was beating some of the best in college basketball such as Duke, Connecticut, and Pittsburgh. Fast forward six seasons later, and Shamorie Ponds has put the Red Storm back on the map.
After St. John’s shocked Duke and Villanova last week, Ponds followed up those wins by scoring 44 points against Marquette on Saturday as the Red Storm won their third straight game. It was the most points scored at Carnesecca Arena in the building’s history, topping the 43 points put up by the late Malik Sealy back in 1990.
Due to that success, Ponds won Big East Player of the Week for the second consecutive week, and Andy Katz of NCAA.com named him the Player of the Week in the entire country after he averaged 35 points per game. Take a look at some of his stats the last four games courtesy of Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:
Shamorie Ponds during St. John's three-game winning streak: 34.3 PPG, 54.5% from the field, 50.0% from the field, 84% from the FT line. Ridiculous. #SJUBB
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 11, 2018
While the Red Storm are nowhere near NCAA Tournament consideration, the success by Ponds can help at least attract the local basketball attention since the Knicks and Nets are having down seasons on the pro level.
Usually, when a player is putting up 20 or more shot attempts, the field goal percentage isn’t going to be that high. But, in Ponds’ case, it has been an entirely different scenario. In his last four games, the sophomore has attempted 20 or more shots and has made 55.8 percent of his shots (48-for-86).
Despite playing every minute of each of the last four games, Ponds has gotten better with his three-point percentage. In those battles with Xavier, Duke, ‘Nova, and Marquette, he is 13-for-27 from downtown (48 percent).
As Ponds has gotten into more of a rhythm on the offensive side and is getting to the basket, the Red Storm offense has made drastic improvements as they have scored 79 or more points as a team in the last three games.
Now, it is hard to expect Ponds to keep this pace up since St. John’s uses just eight players at the most and has mainly only used six guys the last few games. With that being said, the extra attention defenders put on Ponds could lead to Justin Simon getting more points (16 in his previous two games) or more open shots for Bashir Ahmed.
With five games left in the Big East season, St. John’s doesn’t have a single ranked opponent left as of right now. However, there is a chance for Ponds to avenge one of his worst performances of the season when the Red Storm host Butler on February 28. Ponds only had two points that afternoon and didn’t make a shot in the 70-45 loss.
Since Ponds also played his high school ball at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, there is the local aspect to this story. If Ponds can help turn around the St. John’s program with more wins like they had last week, it will only add to his legacy in New York City. Plus, the two upset victories have led to a cool new T-shirt that the school will make available for purchase on Tuesday:
It was a week to remember for #SJUBB! Commemorative shirts are now available for online pre-order. Exclusively in the Campus Store tomorrow.
‼️Limited quantity available‼️
— St. John's Red Storm (@StJohnsRedStorm) February 12, 2018
So, while St. John’s isn’t quite ready to be an NCAA Tournament contender, they have a chance to be in the next couple of years as long as an elite scorer like Ponds is at the helm, running the ship as the point guard.