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.
St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds anxiously awaiting NBA Draft
By ADAM ZAGORIAShamorie Ponds plans to be in New York City on Thursday night, but the former St. John’s guard won’t be in the building at Barclays Center for the NBA Draft.
The 6-foot guard plans to host a private watch party where he and his family and friends will anxiously await his future destination.
“Probably just a private screening with the family, my friends,” Ponds said Tuesday afternoon by phone.
Ponds is looking to become the first St. John’s player drafted since Sir’Dominic Pointer went No. 53 to the Cavaliers in 2015. Before that, Maurice Harkless was chosen at No. 15 by the 76ers in 2012.
“I’m definitely excited,” Ponds said. “This is something I dreamed of for my whole life but it’s definitely nervewracking, too, a little bit. A lot of emotions going on.”
ESPN.com currently has Ponds projected as the No. 44 pick to the Atlanta Hawks, but he could land anywhere in the second round. If he’s there at No. 55, he could be an attractive option for the Knicks.
Ponds most recently worked out the 76ers and the Rockets.
“Multiple teams in both conferences have interest, some of which are playoff teams,” said Ryan Davis, Ponds’ agent.
Ponds is one of several New York/New Jersey products in the draft.
Naz Reid is expected to be the first player from Roselle (N.J.) Catholic High School to get drafted, while former Hudson Catholic standout Louis King is also expected to be drafted. Bronx and Teaneck, N.J. native Jalen Lecque is attempting to jump from the preps-to-the pros, by going from Brewster (N.H.) Academy to the NBA.
The 6-10 Reid is projected at No. 42 to the Sixers, the 6-4 Lecque at 49 to the Spurs and the 6-8 King at 50 to the Pacers.
Connecticut native Tremont Waters, Reid’s teammate at LSU, is at No. 46 to the Magic, and former Yale star Miye Oni is at No. 51 to the Celtics.
Former St. John’s guard Justin Simon has had more than a dozen workouts but is not expected to be drafted.
As for Ponds, he has changed his diet to cut out fried foods and junk food and his body fat has dropped to 9 percent from 17.
On the court, he is a scoring guard who spent last year showing he can involve his teammates. Ponds averaged 19.7 points, 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds for a St. John’s team that got off to a red-hot 12-0 start. They struggled later in the season and lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Arizona State in what turned out to be Chris Mullin’s last game as coach.
“I can score the ball, definitely get my teammates involving, just trying to show my overall game,” he said.
Ponds hopes to help his parents, Shawn Ponds and Lamell Brightwell , once he gets drafted. He’s not exactly sure what he’ll do just yet.
“I haven’t even thought that far yet,” he said. “I just want that day to come and just celebrate from there. All the hard work I put in. I haven’t’ thought that far but I’m definitely going to do something for them. They were there my whole life. It’s only right. “
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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.