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Is 2016 4-Star Combo Guard Shamorie Ponds Headed to Minnesota?

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Ponds made an unofficial visit to Minnesota May 22, the same weekend his AAU team played in the Nike EYBL Minneapolis Session. Despite 13 other offers, the Brooklyn native is leaning towards the Golden Gophers.

Kobe Bryant visits Rucker Park in NYC
Kobe Bryant visits Rucker Park in NYC
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After a solid 2015 class, Gopher boss Richard Pitino is already looking ahead to 2016. Minnesota is beefing up their frontcourt with 6-10 Illinois State transfer Reggie Lynch and hard commit Michael Hurt, a 6-6 small forward. Ponds would be a welcome addition in the backcourt with his ball handling skills and scoring capability, coupled with that New York City grind and grit.

Ponds was offered by the Golden Gophers back in December of 2014 and according to 247 Sports and its Crystal Ball Predictions, there is a 100 percent chance that Ponds will land in Minneapolis.

When it comes to guard play, New York City is the hotbed. It has produced some of the best players to ever play the game. The guard-driven likes of Dean Meminger, Stephon Marbury, Kenny Smith, Nate Archibald, Mark Jackson, Lenny Wilkins, Bob Cousy, Kenny Anderson, Jamaal Tinsley, Ernie Grunfeld and Chris Mullin form a line longer than Black Friday at Wal-Mart. Ponds may be next in line.

Shamorie Ponds is a flat-out baller. He guided Thomas Jefferson High School (Brooklyn) to the PSAL Class AA City League semifinals, averaging 25 points, eight rebounds, and six assists on the season. In video study, the smooth-stroking southpaw impacts the game with his scoring and passing. He has a great burst off the dribble and he can switch gears very well. But his biggest strength is shooting. He can slice and dice the lane or bomb from way beyond the perimeter.

On defense, Ponds is a terror to opposing guards. He's a "get up in your grill" defender. In a December game, he posted a triple-double with 10 steals, 10 assists, and 35 points in a 98-86 win over Lincoln. That performance had old-school city folks comparing him to Brooklyn's finest.

Orange Wave Head Coach Lawrence (Bud) Pollard said that Ponds constantly works on his game; ball handling, shooting, conditioning, and strength. He added:

" He is an all around player who really does a little bit of everything.His game has really elevated this year. I think he has gotten a lot stronger and he has grown a couple of inches. He has also gotten a lot more confident and the game really looks easy to him right now."

The combo guard plays for the New York Lightning on the AAU circuit. His team is 9-8 and he averages 19.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.6 steals, and 2.6 assists. The session in Houston, Texas, May 8-10, Ponds delivered the goods with a 24-point performance in a tough 72-71 loss against The Family Detroit (MI) and 5-Star Miles Bridges. The last game of the session, Ponds recorded 23 points, four rebounds, and five steals in a win over Seattle Rotary Style (WA).

The recent Minneapolis session over Memorial Day weekend consisted of five games and the Lightning recorded a 3-2 mark, including a 83-79 win over Team CP3 (NC), the top team in Division B. Ponds responded with 18 points. He struggled somewhat over the weekend, averaging 10.3 points and 6.0 assists. Perhaps, he was trying too hard to impress the Gopher coaching staff.

He ranks 99th nationally, 12th at the combo guard position, and 6th in the state of New York, according to 247 Sports.

Check out the video of this shrewd, savvy, slick guardster who can "tickle the twine."

In addition to Minnesota, Ponds has garnered multiple offers, including St. John's, South Carolina, Oklahoma, DePaul, South Florida, Xavier, and Seton Hall. Another Big Ten school, Maryland, is showing a medium interest.

If and/or when Ponds commits, that would leave Minnesota with one scholarship for the 2016 class since Jonathan Nwankwo was dismissed from the team May 18th and then 6-7 small forward Davonte Fitzgerald transferred in from Texas A&M May 26th. Never a dull moment this Spring for Minnesota or the Big Ten.

The commitment of Ponds would give the Gophers more depth and competition at the shooting guard position. Currently, there are two shooting guards on the roster in sophomore Mike Lukashewich and incoming freshman Dupree McBrayer.

Over the past 40 years, some of the biggest names in New York City high school basketball have cemented their names. But the biggest name in Gotham City, besides Batman, right now would have to be Thomas Jefferson's Shamorie Ponds.