By Joseph Staszewski
ALBANY – Shamorie Ponds will have something else in common with coach Chris Mullin when he arrives at St. John’s this fall.
The lefty guards from Brooklyn can both call themselves state Federation champions after Ponds’ Jefferson team beat Aquinas 72-65 for the programs first Class AA crown Saturday at the Times Union Center. Mullin, who a title with Xaverian in 1981, was going to hear about all of it soon.
“That’s something we’ll have a conversation about,” Ponds said.
He brought home some extra hardware after being named the tournament MVP. Ponds scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the second half of a semifinal victory over Long Island Lutheran. Foul trouble limited him in the title game, but he still scored 16 points and hit two key free throws down the stretch.
“It felt like dream come true,” Ponds said of winning it all. “It’s something I’ve wanted since my freshman year.”
It was just another moment in a season of them where the stage, the expectations and the hype were never too big. Ponds’ demeanor was perfect for handling all of it, something that should carry over when he deals with the buzz of finally arriving on campus at St. John’s.
“He’s just a cool guy, man,” Jefferson coach Lawrence “Bud” Pollard said. “When everyone is going 110, he is going his speed and his pace and he is very effective.”
He scored 23 points in his first game at Carnesecca Arena, had 31 points and 12 rebounds at the Garden. He will get a second crack at the Barclays Center when he plays in the Jordan Brand Classics on April 15.
What he does is not the only special thing about him, but how he does it.
There are long threes, mid-range jumpers, scoop and spinning layups with both of his hands and some old fashion, blue-collar put backs.
“He’s so good from all three levels; deep three, mid-range game and also finishing moves with both hands,” LuHi coach John Buck said. “He’s such a gifted scorer.”
The low-key, humble Ponds isn’t going to add to more high expectations for his time with the Red Storm, simply saying: “College is a whole other ballgame.”
Nothing that he’s already accomplished means anything in his eyes once he puts on a St. John’s jersey.
“I’m just going to start over from scratch,” Ponds said. “Get in the gym and work everyday.”