Shamorie Ponds announced his decision to return to St. John's for junior season, where he will lead Red Storm into a campaign where NCAA Tournament expectations are abound. (Photo by Newsday)
The waiting was the hardest part for St. John's fans, but the Red Storm fan base did not let it kill them, nor let it get to them.
Shamorie Ponds, the Johnnies' transcendent sophomore guard and NBA Draft prospect -- who used nearly all the allotted time before the May 30 deadline to withdraw himself from consideration for next month's draft -- has decided to put his professional aspirations on hold for at least one more year, opening the door for his return to St. John's for his junior season.
"He's definitely going back to St. John's," Ponds' father, Shawn, told ZagsBlog's Adam Zagoria moments after CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein was first to break the news of Ponds' career plans early Tuesday evening.
Winner of the Haggerty Award, presented to the best player in the metropolitan area as judged by the New York media, Ponds closed his tour de force sophomore campaign by averaging 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game, the former figure leading the Big East in scoring. The Brooklyn native worked out for four NBA franchises while testing the waters this past month, gaining valuable professional feedback as he continues to raise his game to the next level.
"This helps me, definitely," Ponds told Zagoria. "I'm now on the NBA radar, and next year, I should be projected; if I have a solid year, better than where I'm projected right now."
Ponds' return positions him among the frontrunners for the Big East Conference's Preseason Player of the Year honor, by virtue of his sophomore stats and the departure of upperclassmen ahead of him. St. John's also welcomes two other starters back to Queens next season, with senior forward Marvin Clark II and junior guard Justin Simon hoping to improve upon a 16-17 season marked by eleven straight losses to begin conference play. Transfers Mikey Dixon and Sedee Keita are also eligible after sitting out this past year.