Following an NCAA Tournament appearance this season, four members of the St. John’s men’s basketball team have been recognized with spots on All-Met Teams by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association, it was announced this morning.
The reigning winner of the Haggerty Award, Shamorie Ponds earned a spot on the All-Met First Team for the second-straight year. Ponds, who has played three years with St. John's, announced in March that he was declaring for the NBA Draft.
Mustapha Heron made the All-Met Second Team, while Justin Simon and LJ Figueroa were awarded Third Team All-Met honors.
Ponds, who became the 23rd St. John’s men’s basketball player to win the Haggerty Award last year, turned in another spectacular campaign for the Red Storm as a junior. He became just the fifth player in program history to earn a spot on the All-Big East First Team more than once, finding a place on the conference’s top team after finishing fourth in the league in scoring with 19.7 points per game. The Brooklyn native also ranked second in the Big East in assists (5.1 apg) while leading the league in steals (2.6 spg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.6-to-1). Ponds’ 2.6 steals per game and 87 total thefts were both good enough for ninth in the country.
Ponds reached double figures 29 times in 33 appearances this past season with 18 20-point outings and four showings of 30-plus points. He tallied a season-high 37 points on two occasions, leading the Red Storm to its first road win over Georgetown since 2003 and helping the Johnnies erase a 16-point second-half deficit against Georgia Tech in Miami. The southpaw also logged a pair of double-doubles, dishing out 10 assists at Xavier on March 9 and tallying 14 helpers against Wagner on Dec. 16, the latter of which was highest total by a St. John’s player in a single game since 2001.
In his first year with the program after transferring from Auburn, Heron finished second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.6 points per outing. The Waterbury, Conn., native reached double figures 23 times in 31 outings with six performances of 20-points or more, including a season-high 28 to help the Johnnies outlast Butler in overtime on Feb. 12. For his efforts in that game and the Red Storm’s thrilling come-from-behind win over Villanova at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 17, Heron was named the Big East and All-Met Player of the Week. He was also named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll twice in 2018-19.
Through three seasons of college basketball, Heron has tallied 1,463 points and more than 500 rebounds.
Figueroa earns his All-Met honor after bursting on the scene in his first season on Division I basketball. A former junior college All-American at Odessa College in Texas, Figueroa finished third on the team and 14th in the conference in scoring while leading the squad and placing 10th in the Big East with 6.4 boards per outing. The Lawrence, Mass., native tallied a team-high five double-doubles, including a 22-point, 12-rebound outburst in the team’s victory over No. 13 Villanova at Madison Square Garden. A threat from anywhere on the floor, Figueroa led the team in field goal percentage (51.3 percent) and finished second on the squad in three-point success rate (38.3 percent).
Simon rounds out the Red Storm’s contingent of All-Met honorees following a standout redshirt junior campaign. The Arizona transfer became just the third player in program history to be named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year after locking down some of the best competition the conference had to offer. Most notably, Simon limited Big East Player of the Year Markus Howard to just 25 points in two regular season matchups; on the year, Howard averaged 25.0 points per game. After leading the conference in steals in 2017-18, Simon finished third on the team and seventh in the league in thefts this season. He also led the Johnnies in blocks with 22.
Offensively, Simon was one of five St. John’s players to average double figures, pouring in 10.4 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting from the floor.