***UPDATE: Player says Jones to St. John’s unlikely***
Arizona transfer Lamont “Momo” Jones cannot enroll at St. John’s this year because Moe Hicks is on staff, according to an NCAA rule implemented in 2010.
Here is the exact wording of NCAA Bylaw 11.4.2:
“In men’s basketball, during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete’s anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the prospective student-athlete’s actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ (or enter into a contract for future employment with) an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department noncoaching staff position.”
It goes on to say: “If an institution hires an IAWP [individual associated with a prospect] for a noncoaching staff position within two years on either side of enrollment, involved S/A will be permanently ineligible for competition at offending institution.”
NCAA spokesman Chuck Wynne was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
Hicks coached Jones for two years at Rice High School before Jones left Rice to spend his junior season at American Christian (Pa.). He finished up at Oak Hill Academy.
Hicks was hired at St. John’s on June 1, 2010, meaning St. John’s could not bring in any of his former players until June 1, 2012.
After the hiring, it was understood that St. John’s could not recruit a player such as Kadeem Jack or Jermaine Sanders, who both starred at Rice under Hicks. Jack ultimately landed at Rutgers and Sanders at Cincinnati.
Even if Hicks were to leave for another job, St. John’s would still be prohibited from recruiting one of his former players, the St. John’s source.
The New York Post reported recently that it was a done deal that Jones would transfer to St. John’s, and at least one national pundit blindly concurred.
In today’s editions, the Post said the situation is now in flux because of the rule.
Dermon Player, the former St. John’s and Seton Hall assistant who is advising Jones on his transfer, said St. John’s, Seton Hall, UConn, Hofstra and Iona are among the schools that have inquired about Jones, who said he wanted to transfer to be closer to his Harlem home and his ailing grandmother.
Player said nothing was done and he was waiting for Jones to return East this week.
Both St. John’s and Jones have interest in one another, multiple sources with knowledge said, with one key source adding that the first Post report was “premature.”
But if Jones were to spend the upcoming season at another institution and then attempt to enroll at St. John’s in 2012, that might be an option.
“There are ways to get this done,” a source with knowledge said. “It depends on how badly both sides want it.”
(Photo courtesy Tucson Citizen)