Notwithstanding an 11-game losing streak, and a (10-13, 0-11 conference) record—St. John’s has won their last three straight, which include wins over: Duke, Villanova and Marquette.
Although St. John’s suffered from a winless conference record, it never seemed to be out of sync with its competition. Eight of their 11 losing contests came within a 7-point deficit or less, but the Red Storm simply could not close out games.
The Red Storm managed to beat two top-5 teams despite losing their second leading scorer Marcus LoVett, who experienced a season ending knee injury.
So, what’s changed for St. John’s? Shamorie Ponds.
He is learning how to counteract defensive schemes set against him. The sophomore star has done a superior job with his shot selection and knowing when to take over ball games.
Ponds, a slender, 6-1 guard from Brooklyn has averaged 34 points over the last four games, while playing every minute. Ponds said in an interview with Zach Braziller, “I go into every game with the same mindset: Try to get the victory and show out, try to be one of the best players on the court.”
On Saturday against Marquette—Ponds was nothing short of the best player, dropping a career-high 44 points on just 23 shot attempts at home.
In fact—since their loss to No.6 Xavier, Ponds has blatantly been the best player—where he poured in 31 points. Against Duke, Ponds amassed 33 points at Madison Square Garden; against Villanova, he finished with 26 points (37 points in their first meeting) and Saturday, Ponds led the Johnnies with 44.
The southpaw’s 44-point performance was the fourth most in St. John’s history, and according to David G. Combs and Norman Rose—a Carnesecca Arena record.
According to Braziller, Villanova head coach Jay Wright said Ponds is “one of the best one-on-one players in the country.”
Ponds is averaging 20.5 points, 4.7 assists and leads the Big East in steals with 2.5 per game.
“I’m a fighter,” Ponds told Braziller. “I’m getting more and more confident game after game. It’s the overtime I’m putting in that’s bringing it out.”
If you don’t know who Shamorie Ponds is by now—I suggest you find out.