A First Team All-Big East selection in 2017-18, Ponds enjoyed one of the more memorable campaigns in the history of the St. John’s basketball program.
The Brooklyn native poured in 647 points, breaking the school’s sophomore scoring record and finishing eighth on the single-season scoring list.
The lefty sharpshooter eclipsed the 20-point plateau on 16 occasions and turned in six efforts of 30 points or better.
Ponds captured the attention of the nation in late January and early February.
After scoring 31 points and breaking the 1,000-point mark in a hard-fought loss to sixth-ranked Xavier on January 30, Ponds shined for the Red Storm on the highest possible stage, scoring 33 points in an upset of fourth-ranked Duke at Madison Square Garden.
The sophomore scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half, including six in the closing 1:17 to put St. John’s ahead for good.
Four days later, Ponds led the Red Storm to its first victory over the top team in the nation since 1985, recording 26 points, five assists and five boards in a thrilling road win over top-ranked Villanova in Philadelphia
Ponds returned home and broke the Carnesecca Arena single-game scoring record, netting 44 points on 16-of-23 shooting against Marquette on February 10.
Highly touted transfer Mustapha Heron will comes to Queens after two seasons at Auburn.
He must complete one full academic year of residency before competing for the Red Storm per NCAA requirements, but is expected to apply for a hardship waiver in order to gain immediate eligibility.
“Mustapha is a high-level basketball talent who we are thrilled to have join our program,” said coach Chris Mullin. “He comes with tremendous experience and has a history of success against top level competition.”
The Connecticut native received Second Team All-SEC honors from the Associated Press as a sophomore after averaging 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 0.9 assists per game in 32 appearances, all of which were starts, for the Tigers.
Just the fifth player in Auburn history to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau in his first two seasons, Heron finished sixth in the SEC in scoring thanks to eight 20-plus point scoring performances and 29 outings in double figures.
“I’m excited for the opportunity to play for such a storied program,” said Heron. “I’m also fortunate for the chance to be close to home, to my mom and family.”
In the fourth-seeded Tigers’ NCAA Tournament opener against College of Charleston, Heron scored a game-high 16 points to lead Auburn to a 62-58 victory.
The former consensus five-star prospect, Heron was ranked as high as 17th nationally by recruiting services coming out of Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury.
Heron was also a standout on the AAU circuit, playing with New York RENS prior to enrolling at Auburn.
Heron joins a cast of talented newcomers at St. John’s that also includes incoming freshmen Greg Williams Jr., Josh Roberts and Marcellus Earlington, as well as transfers David Caraher, LJ Figueroa and Eli Wright.
The Johnnies return a core group of veterans for 2018-19 that were the team’s top three scorers a season ago in Ponds, Marvin Clark II and Justin Simon.