He used to wow scouts as a rare commodity – a really tall point guard.
However in recent years the excitement has faded.
In 2005, Ponkrashov turned a lot of heads as he quarter-backed Team Russia to a gold medal at the U20 European Championship and immediately got invited to the senior team.
Displaying some amazing passing skills (which are still there), he was instantly billed as Russia’s point guard of the future and a sure bet NBA prospect.
However, a closer look soon revealed flaws in his overall game and the magic stopped working.
Ponkrashov learned to be more careful with the ball as he had to play within the strict game rules of CSKA Moscow for several seasons and also spent a respectable season in a bigger role while on loan in Khimki.
Prone to mistakes when given too much freedom, Ponkrashov still hits team-mates with powerful pin-point passes like few others can, so it all boils down to finding a right role for him in offensive sets.
On a national team where point guard position is a perennial problem, Ponkrashov is a player coaches are ready to work on.