St. John’s star point guard Shamorie Ponds wasn’t selected in the NBA Draft. Neither was Red Storm swingman Justin Simon. However, both players — who opted to go pro instead of returning for their senior seasons — reached deals on Friday to play with teams in the NBA Summer League.
Ponds, a two-time All-Big East selection, will play for the Rockets. He announced the move on Twitter.
“Blessed for this opportunity . . . I’m officially a Houston Rocket,” Ponds wrote. He added an emoji of a rocket and one with fingers crossed and concluded with the hashtag #LetsGetIt.
Simon, the Big East Defensive Player of the Year, is joining the Bulls in the Summer League, St. John’s announced.
Ponds, a lefty point guard, averaged 19.7 points and 5.1 assists and shot 35.3 percent from three-point range in leading St. John’s to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2015. After a stellar sophomore season in which he averaged 21.6 points and 4.7 assists, Ponds contemplated a jump to the NBA and worked out for teams before returning for his junior season.
This past season, Ponds sought to improve his playmaking and decision-making to make an impression on NBA scouts. In addition to improving his assists, he cut his turnovers by 33 percent.
The Brooklyn product had 1,870 points in 96 career games, fifth on St. John’s all-time list.
Simon, a 6-5 guard, averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists this past season.