(Photo courtesy of St. John’s Athletics)
He just gets buckets. Shamorie Ponds has been doing it since his days at Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn. Now, he’s putting on a show in the borough over. The 6’1 point guard stayed elected to stay home for school, and play in front of the St. John’s faithful at Carnesecca Arena in Queens.
The playmaker, nicknamed “Slicck,” wears his New York pride on his sleeve. With the Red Storm currently 12-13 overall, and 0-11 in conference play, Ponds has carried the majority of the workload so far. But, it hasn’t phased him.
When asked if he questioned his college choice, Ponds responded confidently. “Not at all,” he told the New York Post. “I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. It’s about getting through it.”
Ponds preached exactly what his head coach has for weeks. Chris Mullin has constantly said that St. John’s needs to just focus on the next game, and keep working hard. It’s clear his players feel the same.
Still, dropping 11 straight before a jaw-dropping win vs. Duke had to be tough to endure mentally, and physically since Ponds had been dealing with nagging injuries all season. However, he never offered an excuse. Instead, he made bold promises.
After tweeting to St. John’s fans that he had their back, he went on to drop 31 points against the sixth-ranked Xavier Musketeers, and 33 against fourth-ranked Duke. Both games saw the Red Storm bring two superior teams to the edge, and ended with one of the biggest upsets in college basketball this season.
It says a lot about the character of Ponds to rebound like that after the teams embarrassing 70-45 defeat at Butler two games prior.
In terms of numbers, the lefty has been equally as impressive. Yes, his shooting numbers are down. Some would argue he isn’t as efficient. But it’s clear the Red Storm are demanding more out of him, leading to more shot attempts. Through 24 games, Ponds is averaging 20.4 points, 4.7 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game. He’s shooting 23% from beyond the arc, and 37% from the field.
The game against Duke at Madison Square Garden showed what Ponds does best. The bigger the stage, the better the performance. He shot 12-23, and knocked down four three’s in a grand showing against the Blue Devils.
It’s no coincidence that when Ponds plays well, the Johnnies are competitive in almost every game. When he doesn’t, like his 0-12 performance from the field against Butler two games back, they get blown out. He’s their most important player, and he owns it.
Not only is he St. John’s most important player, but he may be New York’s most important player. For so long the Red Storm have been drenched in mediocrity, but it appears they finally have a star on their hands. A pure scorer who can not only handle the brashness of New York, but embrace it. The only concern is if he decides to leave before next season, because mark my words. One day, Shamorie Ponds is going pro.