By JOSH NEWMAN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Reigning MAAC Player of the Year and former Rice High School star Lamont “MoMo” Jones worked out for the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, then made his way to New Jersey to work out for the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday.
Before the Harlem native got to his hotel Wednesday evening, he spoke with his best friend, who informed him a familiar face, Kevin Parrom, would also be at PNY Center working out for new Nets head coach Jason Kidd, General Manager Billy King and Assistant General Manager Bobby Marks.
“That was my college roommate, it’s great, I didn’t know he was gonna be here,” Jones said of Parrom, a Bronx native and his teammate at the University of Arizona for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. “I saw him last night, we talked for about two hours. It was great to catch up with him, it’s great to see guys like us growing up where we came from and the predicaments we were in just to be here together.”
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Transferring Rutgers big man Derrick Randall is headed to the ACC.
“I committed to Pittsburgh,” Randall told SNY.tv Sunday evening.
“It felt like a new home and a new start and I need to get away and start clean.”
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Randall also considered Iona and Minnesota. He visited Pittsburgh last Thursday.
Randall, a Bronx native who played at South Kent (Conn.) and Paterson (N.J.) Catholic, averaged 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds as a sophomore at Rutgers.
He opted to transfer in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal and could obtain a waiver to play immediately. To read more of this story, click here
Iona College is less than 60 miles from Rutgers University, and the former now stands to benefit tremendously from what recently transpired at the latter.
With five Rutgers players transferring following the Mike Rice firing, Iona could end up landing two of them — or 40 percent.
Junior wing Mike Poole has already declared his intentions to play for Iona coach Tim Cluess, and sophomore big man Derrick Randall of The Bronx will visit the Iona campus Saturday. To read more of this story, click here
At about the same time that Eddie Jordan officially became the new head coach at Rutgers, another former Scarlet Knight moved on.
Mike Poole, a 6-foot-5 junior wing, pledged to Iona after visiting the campus Wednesday.
“Mike felt it was time to move on and get a fresh start after his experience at Rutgers,” his mentor, Nate Blue, told SNY.tv.
“It had been a long, trying three years and he is very excited about moving on to a successful winning program at Iona. The Iona staff has known Mike since high school and he is very comfortable with them on and off the court.”
Poole averaged 4.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18.6 minutes last season as a junior.
He scored a career-high 18 points against Iona when Rutgers played the Gaels Dec. 9 at Madison Square Garden, and Blue said he liked head coach Tim Cluess’ up-tempo style.
Poole is expected to apply for a waiver from the NCAA in order to become eligible for the 2013-14 season. Given the circumstances surrounding the Mike Rice firing at Rutgers, it is possible all the Rutgers transfers get waivers to play immediately.
Marshall’s DeAndre Kane and Alabama’s Trevor Lacey both announced they would transfer.
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ATLANTA — Tim Cluess isn’t headed to Hofstra after all.
The Iona coach has recommitted to coaching the Gaels for at least the next five years, the school announced.
Reports earlier Saturday had the Hofstra alum and Long Island native as a done deal to his alma mater. Hofstra pays about twice what Cluess makes at Iona, sources told SNY.tv.
Cluess, in three years at the helm, has led the Gaels to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012 and 2013, along with a MAAC Tournament Championship this spring. To read more of this story, click here
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — David Laury isn’t exactly B.A. Baracus or Royce White when it comes to airplanes, but he certainly isn’t a big fan.
“I just don’t like it, I feel like I’m not in control of what’s going on,” the 6-foot-8, 240-pound Laury, who has flown reluctantly many times, told SNY.tv Monday following practice at Iona.
On Wednesday afternoon, Laury and the No. 15 Gaels will board an airplane at Westchester County Airport for Dayton, Ohio in order to meet No. 2 Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday at 7:15 p.m.
For a man who moved more than 20 times as a child and later made 10 stops in six states at various high schools, prep schools, junior colleges and colleges, one more flight to the Big Dance will be a welcome trip.
“It’s a blessing, I’m just excited to finally be able to play college basketball and get to play in the NCAA Tournament is going to be a feeling that I can’t put in words,” said Laury, 22.
That Laury is here is a testament to his strength and determination in overcoming long odds. As a child, The Star-Ledger previously reported, Laury moved often, shuttling around between his mother’s home in New Jersey, his grandmother’s home in Virginia, back to his mother’s before a stop at his father’s home in Jersey and then on to his Godparents. To read more of this story, click here
By JADEN DALY
Special to ZAGSBLOG
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Iona has punched its ticket to the Big Dance and earned a shot at redemption.
A year after blowing a 25-point lead and losing to BYU in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Gaels are making a return trip.
This time around, they guaranteed their trip by winning the MAAC Tournament championship outright instead of nervously awaiting an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. Iona will enter the Big Dance on a five-game winning streak.
“This year, it’s a lot more meaningful,” Lamont “MoMo” Jones said after scoring 14 points to help Iona claim the championship with a 60-57 victory over arch-rival Manhattan at the MassMutual Center. “If you told me nine months ago that this was going to be the case, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.” To read more of this story, click here
One of two things will happen tonight at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Mass.
Either coach Steve Masiello and No. 6 Manhattan (14-17) will beat Iona in the MAAC championship and qualify for the NCAA Tournament with a 15-17 record….
Or, coach Tim Cluess and No. 4 Iona (19-13) will win, sending the Gaels to the Big Dance for the second straight season — and with a chance to redeem themselves after their second-half collapse against BYU last season.
Either way, New York City-area basketball wins.
In a year when St. John’s, Rutgers and Seton Hall won’t go dancing unless something miraculous happens this week at Madison Square Garden, the winner of the Iona/Manhattan game will. To read more of this story, click here
Much traveled point guard Kelvin Amayo is headed to Iona — and he hopes it’s his last stop.
“Yeah, I just committed,” Amayo told SNY.tv. “I talked to Coach [Tim] Cluess.”
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Amayo recently left Marshall, as first reported by SNY.tv, because he said they did not have a scholarship for him. Before that, he had committed to Towson but was ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA.
Now he will enroll at Iona May 13 and the school will go through a waiver process for immediate eligibility and an additional year of eligibility. He will have at least three years of eligibility remaining. To read more of this story, click here
By JOSH VERLIN
Special to ZAGSBLOG
PHILADELPHIA – As first impressions go, David Laury made a pretty darn good one for Iona on Thursday night in a road game at La Salle.
On his very first touch, the 6-foot-8, 238-pound sophomore grabbed a rebound, went coast-to-coast and finished on the other end, drawing the foul and completing the 3-point play. In a nine-minute first-half run, he would pour in nine points and grab eight rebounds; by the end of the night he had a team-high 21 points (8-13 FG, 5-6 FT) as well as a game-high 14 rebounds in 26 minutes.
“Were we expecting it? No. Did I think he had it in him? Yes,” Iona coach Tim Cluess told SNY.tv after the game. “I thought he had a very nice first game out there. Obviously, there’s a lot of things he has to learn to fit within our team, but individually he did a really good job and we expect big things out of him as we go forward.” To read more of this story, click here