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.
Snubbed by NBA Combine, St. John’s Ponds trying to prove himself in NBA workouts
By ADAM ZAGORIASnubbed by the NBA Draft Combine, St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds is trying to prove himself during NBA workouts.
The Haggerty Award winner as the best player in the New York-Metropolitan area, Ponds averaged 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a sophomore but did not receive a Combine invite.
“For sure, I was most definitely upset [about the Combine],” Ponds said Saturday by phone. “I feel I deserved it.”
The 6-foot-1 Brooklyn native worked out for the Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers this weekend, and came away feeling good about his performances.
“I feel I did great, I got some great feedback,” Ponds said after landing back home in New York following the Cavs workout on Saturday.
The Cavs workout also included Auburn’s Mustapha Heron (who also had the Nets on Friday), Villanova’s Omari Spellman and USC’s De’Anthony Melton.
Cavs GM Koby Altman spoke to the players after the workout, and Ponds also spoke with Cavs guard and former St. Benedict’s Prep star J.R. Smith because the Cavs began practice for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals after the workout. The series begins Sunday in Boston.
“Swish [is] my guy, so I was chatting it up with him a little bit,” Ponds said of Smith.
“[Altman] said he really likes my game a lot, he really enjoyed watching it,” Ponds added. “There was great energy after the workout.”
As for the Nets workout, Ponds only recognized Maryland’s Bruno Fernando and Nevada’s Cody Martin.
“I did OK, I could’ve did way better,” he said. “Could’ve shot it a little better.”
Nets GM Sean Marks spoke to the group there as well.
“It was great feedback after that one as well, too,” he said. “He was preaching staying in shape and building my body up.”
After the Combine, he has workouts slated with Utah, Detroit and the Lakers. He also hopes to reschedule workouts with the Knicks and Atlanta, which he missed previously because of a final.
“I’m definitely going to try to squeeze them back in there,” he said.
He has until May 30 to decide to return to St. John’s.
“I definitely have to take advantage of this opportunity given,” he said. “I just can’t make a decision right now, so I’m going to weigh it out.”
If he opts to return to St. John’s, he believes this will help him next season and during the 2019 NBA Draft process.
“This helps me definitely I think a lot,” he said. “I’m now on the NBA radar and next year I should be projected if I have a solid year better than where I’m projected right now.”
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.