Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Shamorie Ponds talks workouts in front of NBA guys, recruiting others to St. John’s
PHILADELPHIA — Between trying out for the U.S. U19 team and playing at the Under Armour All-America Camp, Shamorie Ponds has already had an eventful summer.
The rising sophomore guard from St. John’s played five-on-five this week in front of some 35 NBA scouts, and played well through the first two days of workouts.
“Yeah, it’s pretty exciting,” Ponds told me Thursday afternoon at Philadelphia University. “Just to showcase your talent in front of the next level I’m trying to be at, it’s a little nerve wracking but I’m trying. It’s going to be a job soon.”
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla has been impressed with the 6-foot-1 guard from Brooklyn.
“Shamorie played well the first night,” he said. “He’s a dynamic little guard and I think right now he should concentrate on being one of the best guards in the country before he thinks about the next level.”
Last month, Ponds tried out for the U.S. U19 team coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari, but got cut.
“I mean, I wasn’t mad but it was a few disappointments,” he said. “I felt I should’ve made it but it is what it is.”
The Americans ended up losing to R.J. Barrett and Canada in the semifinals before taking third place against Spain. Asked if he felt he could’ve made a difference, Ponds said: “Oh, of course. I’m confident in my ability so I’m pretty sure I would’ve made an impact on the game.”
Going forward, both experiences should help him as a sophomore at St. John’s, where he will share the backcourt with Marcus LoVett and Arizona transfer Justin Simon.
“I mean, this is just building my confidence because I’m talking more,” he said. “I’m more mature, basically.”
Of his backcourt mates he said, “We’re jelling pretty well right now. In practice we guard each other. When we’re in games, we go at each other, so we just gotta piece it together.”
Meantime, with some top-tier high school talent at the event, including St. John’s targets Moses Brown, Scottie Lewis and Bryan Antoine, Ponds finds time for a little recruiting. The 7-foot-1 Brown is being recruited by a Who’s Who of schools, including Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Louisville, along with hometown St. John’s.
“We just kick it, I don’t really talk to none of them because I know they have a lot of schools after them,” Ponds said. “But I pitch it a little bit to Moses. He works out in our school so every time he comes, I just tell him, ‘Yo, this is a good fit for you.'”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.