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Houston signs undrafted guard Shamorie Ponds

Shamorie Ponds

St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds has signed with the Houston Rockets after not being selected in the 2019 NBA Draft. ESPN’s Jordan Schultz first reported the news on Friday morning, which was confirmed by Ponds himself shortly thereafter.

A three-year standout for the Red Storm who hails from nearby Brooklyn, Ponds started every game of his college career, establishing himself as one of the most productive lead guards in the country from the first time he stepped on the floor. Ponds averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and an impressive 2.6 steals per game in 2018-19, leading his team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015. He was a two-time First-Team All Big East selection, and was named to the conference’s All-Freshman team in 2016-17 after averaging 17.4 points per game.

Ponds’ viability in the NBA depends more on his ability to knock down threes more than anything else, which is still a question mark after three streaky, high-volume seasons from beyond the arc for St. John’s. An unspectacular athlete at 6-foot-1 without notable length or strength, he relies on creativity with the ball in hand to create offense, but needs to continue improving his decision-making before a team would feel comfortable making him its backup point guard.

The Rockets are at a crossroads of sorts after being eliminated by the short-handed Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Semifinals. General manager Daryl Morey has made it clear everyone on Houston’s roster with the exception of James Harden is available via trade for the right price, and last week reports surfaced that Chris Paul had demanded to be dealt, a development both he and Morey immediately denied took place.