Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Chris Mullin lands top NYC recruit Shamorie Ponds for St. John's: Report

In what can only be called laying a solid cornerstone for the future of St. John’s basketball, Chris Mullin landed one of New York City’s top players Tuesday when Shamorie Ponds, a 6-1 guard from Thomas Jefferson High in Brooklyn, verbally committed to the Red Storm program.

“It felt like a perfect fit,” Ponds said at a press conference. “It is close to home. I’m St. John’s No. 1 recruit for the class of 2016 and they are putting the ball in my hands.”

In landing Ponds, Mullin, the first-year coach, already has done what his predecessor, Steve Lavin, had a hard time doing — keep the city’s top talent in the city.

"It was a long process," Ponds said at Tuesday's presser. "I'm attending the University of St. John's."

And nobody seemed happier than Matt Abdelmassih — the Johnnies new assistant coach and recruiter.

The smooth-shooting Ponds is a four-star recruit and is rated as a top 50 recruit nationally by recruiting services Rivals and Scout. Ponds made an official visit to the school last month.

Ponds picked the Red Storm over Providence and Creighton, and becoming the first top local player to join Mullin’s program.

“I guess I can set an example,” he said. “This is basically a dream come true. I always wanted to stay home, play in front of my family.”

Arizona recently expressed interest and Ponds had offers from the likes of Minnesota, Miami, South Carolina, Seton Hall and Oklahoma as well. But his hometown school won out.

“They love me here,” Ponds said. “There’s no arena like Madison Square Garden. [Mullin] said, ‘If you put on a show there, you can write your own ticket.’”

Ponds, a southpaw with a sweet 3-point stroke, is the highest-rated local player to pick St. John’s since Maurice Harkless committed to play there under former coach Steve Lavin in August 2011. 

Ponds led Jefferson to the city finals two years ago and the semifinals last year, when he averaged 25 points per game, 8.6 rebounds.

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