|Junior||6’1″ 175||Point Guard||St. John’s||20 Yrs. Old|
|19.7 ppg||4.1 rpg||5.1 apg||FG: 45.3%||3 PT: 35.3%|
Strengths: Shot Creation, Perimeter defender, High motor, Quickness, Ball handling
Weaknesses: Size/Length, Vertical ability, Outside shooting efficiency
Ponds is a scoring point guard, who has no fear on the offensive end, which makes him a threat to pull up at anytime he gets separation from a defender. The junior plays with a passion and a high motor that you would expect from a tough New York City native, who elected to stay in his hometown and bring St. John’s back to winning basketball. His ball handling would be above average from day one as a pro, allowing him to create separation in a variety of ways to get his shot off. Primarily having the ball in his hands, most of his shots come off of ball handling and quickness to get by defenders, or use the step back to shoot a jumper, a move that he has mastered in college. His first step is quick enough to get by defenders heading to the basket, and he is crafty in finishing around the rim whether it be drawing a foul or finishing through contact. As a passer, he is solid averaging over 5 assists per game as a junior, and those numbers would project to improve with an increase in talent around him at the next level. His willingness to drive to the basket and kick the ball out for open jumpers is that something that his future teammates will enjoy, at whatever level of professional basketball he ends up playing. Crossovers, step backs, or just simply pulling up quickly are all in his arsenal of offensive weapons, and as long as he can consistently get his shot off against tougher competition, he would have no problem putting up points. Averaging over 4 rebounds per game in every one of his seasons in college, he is a solid rebounder, especially when you consider his lack of size. Many people will point to his numbers being down as a scorer from his sophomore season to his junior year, however when you take a closer look at the numbers, Ponds took over 3 less shots per game this past season which would explain being down a couple of a points per contest on average.
On the defensive side of the ball, Ponds can cause havoc on the perimeter, averaging over 2 steals per game in all 3 of his seasons at St. John’s. This is an area that he could use to help him stick in the league, should he get drafted, where most guards these days can score but being an elite perimeter defender will keep you on the floor if you’re struggling with your shot. His size and length will make it more difficult to defend as a pro than it was in college, but he has the tools to be an above average defender at the next level.
Size wise Ponds leaves a lot to be desired standing at 6’1″, with only a 6’2″ wingspan. Many of the smaller guards in the league have good length and vertical leaping ability which allows them to play much bigger than their listed height. This is not the case with Ponds not being a great jumper, an area that will make it much more difficult for him to get his shot off than he is used to against college players. Coming into this season, the big question mark with his game was whether he can shoot the ball at an efficient enough level to be a pro, and while that question still remains, he did take strides towards reversing that notion. As a freshman he shot the ball at 37.5% from behind the arc which showed a promising future in that area, but then came a regression as a sophomore where his percentage fell to 25.3% leading many to think once defenses focused more attention on him, he was unable to adjust his shot selection. It was apparent Ponds worked hard on shot selection, and shooting in general in his off-season, bringing his outside shooting numbers back up to 35.3% as a Junior. These numbers do make it difficult to project just how good of a shooter that he is considering his best years are still not great efficiency wise, but getting back to being an average college shooter from his down sophomore efficiency level will help ease that concern. One thing to note in regards to his shooting, Ponds is an elite free throw shooter having been over 80% in all of his three seasons as a college player, which will give NBA teams hope that with more work and shot selection improvement, he can be a efficient shooter.
This clip gives you an idea of how quickly he can get down the court, finishing at the basket:
This play shows off his range when forced to shoot it at the end of the shot clock:
Shamorie Ponds FROM THE LOGO. pic.twitter.com/fvvMoa2SZ2— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 21, 2019
Ponds is currently projected as a mid to late second round pick, with the possibility of going undrafted being there, although it would be somewhat surprising. His scoring production in the Big East, and his other abilities make him a solid fit for the modern day NBA as a lead guard. The ceiling for Ponds is a starter level point guard, possibly coming off of the bench but getting minutes, who can put up points in a hurry and set up teammates for open shots. His floor would be a back up who can come into the game and give you an offensive spark while playing solid defense, possibly electing to head overseas after taking his shot at the NBA.