One look at the St. John’s roster and it didn’t seem like the Red Storm really needed a point guard in this class, especially one who isn’t tall, such as Shamorie Ponds. However that line of thinking would be dismissing what has made St. John’s great during the times that they have been a notable program within college basketball.
No one knows more than Chris Mullin that St. John’s has been built on a foundation of New York City kids. Whether it is Mullin himself, Malik Sealy, Ron Artest, Walter Berry, Mark Jackson, or Felipe Lopez, when St. John’s has been at its best as a program the best kids from the Big Apple have been playing in Queens for the Red Storm.
While it is no doubt true that New York City isn’t quite producing elite level players at the same rate as it once did, the reality is St. John’s still has to get its share of the best talent from New York City in order to once again rise up the ranks and be one of the best programs in the country.
That is the challenge Mullin knew was in front of him when he took over the job, and on Tuesday one of the city’s best decided to stay home in Ponds.
Ponds, who is a four-star prospect and a big time scorer, makes up for St. John’s losing out on Mustapha Heron who despite being from Connecticut has New York City roots. Also things don’t seem extremely promising with another five-star New Yorker in Rawle Alkins. Because of that landing Ponds is huge as he shows that Mullin can keep high level talent at home.
Now this isn’t to say that Ponds’ addition immediately makes St. John’s the school to beat for future New York kids, but with a talented class of 2017 prospects from the area featuring players like Mohamed Bamba (Harlem), Hamidou Diallo (Queens), Nick Richards (Queens), Jordan Tucker (White Plains), Isaiah Washington (Bronx), and Sid Wilson (Bronx) having some momentum in the city with a kid like Ponds is huge.
Since times have changed there is no reason for St. John’s to focus solely on New York City, and Mullin and his staff realize that and are more than willing to spread their wings and recruit outside the area, and even outside of the country to fill the roster with talented players, but like any program your home base is important, and historically for St. John’s their home base is more important to their success than most.
Ponds is a good start, now it will be interesting to see if St. John’s can find a way with Alkins and keep momentum going in the future. While they don’t need to land everyone in the 2017 class, if they can get more than their share, things will once again be rolling and Madison Square Garden could be rocking for St. John’s home games.