|Shamorie Ponds. @StJohnsBball.|
St. John's sophomore point guard Shamorie Ponds was named to the All-Big East First Team on Sunday afternoon.
Ponds, who averaged 21.6 points per game in 28 appearances this season, becomes the first St. John’s player since D’Angelo Harrison in 2015 and the 16th Johnnie all-time to earn a spot on the conference’s top team. In total, a member of the Red Storm has been named to the All-Big East First Team 22 times since 1980.
Ponds earned this award with an incredible seven-game stretch that began with 31 points in a loss against Xavier on January 31, followed by 33 points in a win against then-number 4 Duke on February 3, then 26 in another huge win against then-number 1 Villanova, followed by 44 in a win against Marquette on February 10, which is now the Carnesecca Arena record; then 26 at DePaul in a one-point victory on February 14, followed by 19 in a loss to Marquette on February 21, and a 25-point effort on February 24 in an overtime loss to Seton Hall.
Ponds scored 20 or more points 15 times, including notching 30-plus points six times this season.
Despite missing three games due to injury during Big East play, Ponds is on the verge of breaking the St. John’s sophomore scoring record and entering the top 10 on the Red Storm’s single-season scoring list. Ponds will be attempting to catch his head coach, Chris Mullin, in both those respects, sitting just 23 points away from his mentor for the sophomore scoring record and the 10th highest point total in program history (629).
Known for his ability to score in bunches, Ponds cracked the 30-point plateau six times this season, becoming the first St. John’s player to do so since Marcus Hatten in 2002-03. The sophomore from Brooklyn also equaled Hatten in another respect, tying him for the fourth-highest single-game point total in program history with a 44-point explosion against Marquette on Feb. 10. Ponds’ outburst against the Golden Eagles broke the Carnesecca Arena/Alumni Hall single-game scoring record, previously set by Malik Sealy (43) against Central Connecticut State on Nov. 24, 1990. In total, Ponds cracked the 25-point plateau 12 times and turned in 15 performances of 20 points or better on the campaign.
Far from just a scorer, Ponds ranks at or near the top of the Big East in a number of statistical categories. The Thomas Jefferson High School product leads the league in steals at 2.5 per game, a total that ranks in the top 10 nationally. In addition, Ponds ranks fourth in the conference in assists with 4.9 per game while checking in at 19th in the league with 5.1 rebounds per outing. Ponds’ 85.4 free-throw percentage is also sixth best in the BIG EAST entering postseason play.
Ponds has earned recognition from local and national outlets a number of times this season, most notably being named the National Player of the Week by several different organizations during the Red Storm’s magical four-game winning streak that included triumphs over No. 4/5 Duke and No. 1/1 Villanova.
Ponds scored a game-high 33 points in the Red Storm’s victory over the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden on February 3 before posting a team-high 26 in the Johnnies’ win over Villanova a few days later on February 7, the program’s first against a top-ranked opponent since the 1984-85 season. A two-time Big East Player of the Week in February, Ponds was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll seven times as a sophomore.
Ponds missed their last two regular season games, including a 75-68 double overtime win over Butler at home on Wednesday night, and lost the season finale in Providence, 61-57.
JUSTIN SIMON HONORED:
In a 1-1 week for the Red Storm that featured a victory over Butler at Carnesecca Arena in double overtime, Simon averaged 18.5 points on 50.0 percent shooting, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game. Simon played all 90 minutes over the two-game stretch for the Johnnies.
On Wednesday night against the Bulldogs, Simon tied the game in the closing seconds of regulation before scoring nine of his game-high 24 points in the extra two overtime periods, lifting the Red Storm to a 75-68 victory in double overtime. Converting on nine of his 16 shot attempts from the floor, Simon also added 10 rebounds for his team-leading eighth double-double of the season. The Temecula, Calif., native also tallied five assists, four steals and a block in 50 minutes of action, becoming the first Red Storm player since Malik Boothe in 2010 to log 50 or more minutes in a single game.
In the Red Storm’s regular season finale at Providence on Saturday, Simon played a key role in a late St. John’s run that fell just short. After trailing by as many as 13 midway through the second half, Simon helped the Johnnies shave their deficit to just three in the closing minutes before ultimately falling to the Friars, 61-57. The Arizona transfer finished with 13 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals.
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT:
St. John's finished the regular season 4-14 in the Big East and 15-16 overall and is the nine seed in the Big East Tournament.
The Red Storm will take on the eighth seed Georgetown Hoyas. This is the second straight year they will take on the Hoyas in the Big East Tournament, with last year's game a classic that St. John's won late.
This is the first time Chris Mullin of St. John's and Patrick Ewing of Georgetown will square off as head coaches in the tournament. Tip-off is Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.