ANAHEIM, CA - MARCH 24: Lamont Jones #12 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Duke Blue Devils during the west regional semifinal of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Honda Center on March 24, 2011 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
We knew that former Arizona point guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones was targeting a handful of schools close to his New York City roots. But it wasn't St. John's or Seton Hall or even Hofstra that the Rice High School and Oak Hill Academy product chose to call his next home.
Instead, he's going to be an Iona Gael, setting up an interesting off-season where he'll likely work diligently to become eligible to ball in the fall, instead of having to sit out the normally mandatory one season.
Why do we care about the prospects of a MAAC squad that has never won an NCAA Tournament game since the current 64+ team format was introduced, and appeared in just two in the past decade? Because the Gaels were last season's conference runners up, and they already return their top four scorers next season, including seniors Michael Glover and Scott Machado. With that, the addition of Jones is roughly equivalent to an upstart pro sports team landing that final piece during the free agency period that puts them over the top and forces us to give them attention. Iona is now on our radar.
A point guard who admittedly has a preference for scoring rather than distributing, expect MoMo to play off the ball for the Gaels. The aforementioned Machado was actually second in the country last season in assists-per-game (7.6) and had an impressive 2-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, a role he's unlikely to relinquish. This makes MoMo happy; allowing him to roam free along the perimeter and not be so worried about sharing, both the rock and minutes.
Let's just hope the NCAA grants Jones a hardship waiver because of his sick grandmother, which would bolster this upcoming season's Gaels roster and make them a very intriguing mid-major squad.