Shamorie Ponds says it's 'a bust' if St. John's misses NCAA Tournament | Zagsblog
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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.
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Saturday / February 24.
  • Shamorie Ponds says it’s ‘a bust’ if St. John’s misses NCAA Tournament

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    NEW YORK — St. John’s was picked sixth in the Big East Conference, but sophomore guard Shamorie Ponds has big expectations for this year.

    The Brooklyn native believes the the Red Storm are an NCAA Tournament team and says it will be a failure if they miss out.

    “If we didn’t make it, it will be a bust and I’m sticking with it,” Ponds told me Wednesday at Big East Media Day at Madison Square Garden.

    The Johnnies haven’t been to the Big Dance since 2015 under Steve Lavin, who was also at Big East Media Day for Fox.

    But with the backcourt of Ponds and Marcus LoVett now both sophomores — and both named to the Preseason All-Big East Second Team — expectations are high once again.

    “This is the most confident I ever been in my life,” Ponds said. “I feel like this is our year to make a run.”

    Now that Ponds and LoVett are no longer freshman, coach Chris Mullin wants them to take more of a leadership role, along with Bashir Ahmed and Amir Alibegovic. 

    Ponds averaged 17.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists, while LoVett averaged 15.9 points, 3.8 assists and 2.9 rebounds.

    “I want [Ponds and LoVett] to maintain their production and maybe even increase that,” Mullin said.

    Mullin also wants to see the team’s defense improve.

    “We’re going to have to gang rebound and play a little bit better defense individually and we’re looking froward to taking another step forward,” he said.

    Part of the optimism around the program stems from the additions of transfers Justin Simon (Arizona) and Marvin Clark (Michigan State), who add depth and skill to the team. Simon is 6-5 and Clark 6-7.

    “When you do see them, you’ll see that they’re two guys physically that we didn’t have on our roster,” Mullin said.

    “We relied maybe too much on Shamorie and Marcus offensively. We ran pick-and-rolls almost every time, which we still do. But to balance that out we’re going to post a little bit and have more of a balanced offensive attack.

    “Justin can play the point guard and Shamorie and Marcus can play off the ball and become catch-and-shoot players offensively. Marvin Clark is a guy that physically we didn’t have. He can post, he can shoot the three, we can play him at the three, four or five.

    “I think offensively we’re going to figure out how to score the basketball, we have to figure out how to play defense and rebound.”

    For his part, Ponds has seen Seton Hall make two straight NCAA Tournaments, and he would like to join them.

    “That’s pretty every college player wants to make it to the March Madness,” Ponds said. “There’s nothing like it, so us seeing them we feel like we should be there, too.”


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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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