When you lead the Big East Conference in scoring as a sophomore at St. John’s, there’s a good chance you’ll take home the New York City area’s most prestigious college basketball award.
That’s exactly what Red Storm star Shamorie Ponds did this year, as he was named the 2017-18 Haggerty Award winner on Wednesday by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association.
The former Thomas Jefferson High School prodigy enjoyed a solid freshman campaign last year, but he exploded onto the national college basketball scene this season — putting together one of the more impressive seasons in recent St. John’s history.
Despite his young age, Ponds paced the conference in scoring with 21.6 points per game, while also averaging five rebounds and five assists per contest.
The Red Storm fell well short of their expectations this season, going just 16-17 in a year some thought they could contend for an NCAA Tournament berth.
But after an 11-game losing streak, it was Ponds who led the Johnnies on a midseason surge. On Feb. 3, he dropped 33 points en route to an upset of a vaunted Duke program. Just four days later, he scored 26 points to propel St. John’s past Villanova, this year’s NCAA National Champion.
Ponds capped off his incredible run with a 44-point performance against Marquette on Feb. 10 — the most points ever scored by a Red Storm player at Carnesecca Arena.
The sophomore is the 23th St. John’s player — and the fifth underclassman — to win the Haggerty Award, the most from one school in the honor’s 74-year history.
The Brooklyn native is also the third Red Storm player to take home the award in the last five years, joining since-graduated stars D’Angelo Harrison and Sir’Dominic Pointer in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Last month, Ponds declared for the NBA Draft but did not hire an agent — meaning he has until May 30 to either return to St. John’s or forgo his college eligibility.
He told the New York Post this week he is “60-40” on remaining in the draft and not returning to school, but added he was far from a final decision.
Ponds was also named to the All-Met First Team, as was fellow St. John’s guard Justin Simon.
Not only did the California native average 12.2 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game this year, Simon also lead the Big East with 2.5 steals per tilt.
His 5.1 assist-per-game mark was good for second in the conference, as well.
The final MBWA First-Team honor for St. John’s went to Red Storm women’s basketball star Maya Singleton, who was named to the All-Met’s female top squad.
Not only was the senior the team’s leading scorer at 11.2 points per game, she also lead the Big East in rebounding with 10.9 boards per contest.
Under her leadership. the St. John’s women went 19-15 this year, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
Teammates Qadashah Hoppie and Alisha Kebbe were named to the All-Met Second and Third Teams, respectively.