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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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Sunday / June 23.

    Chris Mullin isn’t the only person connected to St. John’s on the West Coast these days.

    While Mullin has been featured in The New York Times watching the Golden State Warriors with his fellow “Run TMC” members, St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds is out West working out for several teams.

    As he continues to test the NBA Draft waters leading up to the May 30 for underclassmen to withdraw and return to school, Ponds has worked out for the Nuggets and Lakers and is slated to be at the Jazz on Wednesday and then the Pistons. The Jazz workout will also include Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State), Chimezie Metu (USC), P.J. Washington (Kentucky), Mustapha Heron (Auburn) and Matt Mobley (St. Bonaventure).

    Ponds worked out with the Nets and Cavaliers before the NBA Combine, for which he was snubbed.


    An unseeded Serena Williams will be a dangerous floater but figures to struggle at the French Open next week, according to 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova.

    Navratilova still believes Williams will be the favorite at Wimbledon in July despite her lack of match play since giving birth to her first child in September. While she was No. 1 when she left the tour to give birth, Williams is currently ranked No. 453.

    Williams will open against 70th-ranked Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic, and could face rival Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

    “I’m thinking that Serena is always going to a tournament thinking she can win,” Navratilova, a Tennis Channel analyst, said Tuesday on a  conference call. “But realistically speaking, she’s may be thinking more in terms of just getting some matches under her belt, hit a lot of balls so she’s ready for Wimbledon. She still is a favorite for me to win Wimbledon. The clay is going to be a tricky proposition for her.”

    Williams, 36, has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, but only three of those have come in Paris, the last in 2015. She has won Wimbledon and the Australian Open seven times apiece, and the US Open six times. She will enter Roland Garros unseeded after playing just four matches in 2018 it was announced Monday. Her most recent match was at Miami in March when she lost to Naomi Osaka, 6-3, 6-2.


    It goes without saying that Rafael Nadal will be the prohibitive favorite to win his 11th Roland Garros title when the tournament begins Sunday in Paris.

    But the 31-year-old Spaniard may also be the favorite on the grass at Wimbledon beginning  July 2 due to the court’s unique conditions this year.

    Martina Navratilova said she played on the Wimbledon courts last Saturday and the courts were “really hard” and the “bounce was high,” making her think the conditions could benefit Nadal if they remain that way into July when Wimbledon starts.

    “The bounce is pretty high,” the 18-time Grand Slam champion said Tuesday on a  Tennis Channel conference call. “That made me wonder. If those courts hold, if the weather holds, that would be a slight disadvantage for Roger [Federer] and an advantage for Rafa, so we’ll see. You still have to put Roger as the favorite, but not as big a favorite as Rafa is in Paris.”

    Federer, 36, owns a men’s record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, with Nadal in second place at 16. They have combined to win the last five men’s majors, with Federer winning the Australian Open in 2017 and ’18 and Wimbledon last year. Nadal won his 10th French Open title in 2017 and followed that up later in the summer by winning his third US Open crown.

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