The Los Angeles Lakers have scoured the market in recent weeks as preparation for the 2018 NBA Draft hit full swing. After traveling abroad to visit international prospects and making a stop at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, the Lakers have held their own pre-draft workouts.
They’ve brought in prospects that could conceivably be selections at Nos. 25 or 47, as well as those who were more likely to go undrafted and likely wind up being a candidate to play for the Lakers in the Las Vegas Summer League.
In some cases, prospects who went through a workout at UCLA Health Training Center didn’t have an agent and were eligible to return to school. One such player was St. John’s point guard Shamorie Ponds who was testing the waters after two collegiate seasons.
With the deadline for a decision now here, Ponds elected to withdraw from the 2018 NBA Draft, per Zach Braziller of the New York Post:
In the end, there were too many reasons to wait. Too many factors suggesting it was in Shamorie Ponds’s best interest to return to school. … And so after going back and forth for weeks about whether to keep his name in the NBA draft, St. John’s star sophomore opted to return to school, according to his father, Shawn, the day before the draft deadline. He will be on campus this week for summer classes, which start Wednesday.
“It was a real hard decision,” Shawn said in a phone interview. “Ultimately, that’s his dream. He wanted to go to the NBA. But that’s a 19-year-old kid. We explained to him, if it doesn’t happen this year, you still have another year. Best thing for you is education. … To get a degree in three years outweighed everything.”
Ponds always seemed to be a bit of a dark horse candidate to get drafted, much less go in the first round. He was not among the 69 prospects invited to the draft combine.
“It definitely adds more fuel to the fire,” Ponds said of not participating. “I definitely should’ve been there but you can’t do anything about it now but show out in the workouts.”
In addition to the Lakers, he worked out with the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics. Ponds struggled in a 3-point shooting drill during the portion of the Lakers pre-draft workout that media was permitted to watch.
He also had trouble connecting from deep while completing the ‘Lakers Mentality Drill.’ Ponds shot 37.5 percent from behind the arc and had 19 games with at least three 3-pointers made last season.
Ponds averaged 21.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game, earning All-Big East First Team honors.
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