The St. John’s Red Storm got some good news on Tuesday as Shamorie Ponds decides to return to the program for one more season.
On Tuesday night, the St. John’s Red Storm got some great news as their star player will be back in Queens next season for one more year. Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports was the first to report that Shamorie Ponds decided to withdraw his name from the NBA Draft process and return to school for the 2018-19 season, which is his junior year:
Shamorie Ponds will return to St. John's next season, per his father. Entered 2018 NBA Draft without an agent. #SJUBB
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 29, 2018
While Ponds never got an invite to the NBA Draft Combine, he did get the opportunity to participate in private workouts with teams to see where he stood in the process. Some of the teams that he worked out for included the Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Cleveland Cavaliers (according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog).
Last season, Ponds had to carry St. John’s for most of the season and he had some great moments for the program. He averaged 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 2.3 steals per game while playing on average of 37 minutes per contest.
From January 30 against Xavier till February 14 against DePaul, Ponds had a stretch of five straight games where he scored 25 or more points. This included 44 points in a win over Marquette, 33 points in an upset win over Duke, and 26 points against the eventual national champs, Villanova.
If there is one thing that Ponds need to work on to boost his draft status for next season, it would be how he shoots the ball from beyond the arc. Last season, his three-point percentage was at 25.3 percent, over a 12 percent drop off from where it was in the prior season (37.5).
With Ponds now in the mix for this season, St. John’s has the opportunity to rise up in the Big East with some of the big names in the conference deciding to go to the NBA such as guards Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova) and Khyri Thomas (Creighton). Ponds should be a First Team All-Big East player and will definitely be one of the favorites for Big East Player of the Year.
Ponds should have some help next season as the Red Storm will have transfer L.J. Figueroa as another scoring option and they could potentially add Mustapha Heron from Auburn as another transfer. It also allows Chris Mullin to use Mikey Dixon off the bench and it could take some pressure off of Ponds where he doesn’t have to play the bulk of the game.
Last season, Ponds had to play 35 or more minutes in 22 games because the Red Storm did not have much depth on their roster. Now, the coaching staff can give him a breather before media timeouts and even allow Justin Simon to run the point and distribute the ball to his teammates.
The fact of the matter is that Ponds coming back restores expectations for St. John’s heading into the 2018-19 season as a possible NCAA Tournament team and a team that will at least compete for a spot in March near the top of the conference.