So much so that Shamorie Ponds entered the NBA Draft following a wildly successful season, and landed some workouts with teams. He was evaluated by organizations prior to pulling his name and returning to St. John’s on May 30.
Among those teams Ponds worked out with included the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets and, reportedly, the New York Knicks.
“They just told me to stick to playing my game,” the Brooklyn native said after scoring 32 points in an 82-79 victory over the University of California on Monday night. “Consistency, taking better shots and developing a playmakers mentality.”
Consistency? Well, he did begin the season with back-to-back scoring outings of 20 or more.
Shooting better? He did erupt for 32 points on a highly efficient 11-of-15 (73 percent) shooting from the field on at Barclays Center.
And regarding that playmakers mentality, Red Storm head coach Chris Mullin says Ponds is already there. He highlighted a six-assist game last Friday, an 84-65 St. John’s win over Rutgers, as an example.
“Rutgers people told me that not only was he making good plays, but the way he stayed in the game when he wasn’t scoring was really impressive,” said Mullin of Ponds, who shot 3-for-10 that day but continued to create for others. “He made some beautiful passes last game.
“Other guys were going and he kept us lined up,” he added. “It was as unselfish a game as I’ve seen him play since he’s been with us and he was very effective.”
Mullin said that Ponds’ playmaking ability and overall progression is only scratching the surface of what his junior campaign may hold.
“Shamorie obviously can score the ball, everyone knows that,” Mullin said. “But he’s the type of player that doesn’t have to score to influence the game. That’s his maturity and his experience.”