Momo Jones to Iona

Former Arizona guard Lamont “Momo” Jones has opted to transfer to Iona in order to play closer to his home in Harlem, N.Y.

The 6-foot, 196-pound Jones chose Iona after an initial visit last Friday and a second one Wednesday morning . He also visited Seton Hall and considered Hofstra and UMass.

Located in New Rochelle, N.Y., Iona finished 25-12 overall, 12-3 in the MAAC last season. The Gaels lost to St. Peter’s in the MAAC championship game for the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. They then reached the final of the CIT, losing to Santa Clara.

Jones must sit out the upcoming season per NCAA regulations unless he gets a hardship waiver, but a source close to the Iona staff said they were hopeful of obtaining a waiver because Jones’ grandmother is ill.

“After taking visits to the local schools I felt a good connection with Coach [Tim] Cluess] of Iona,” Jones said in a statement sent by his adviser, former Seton Hall and St. John’s assistant Dermon Player. “I want to thank Seton Hall, Hofstra and UMass as well as South Florida and Marquette for their interest. I want to thank my family and my adviser, coach Dermon Player for helping me in the process.

“I look forward to going to the Gaels and pursuing my dreams of getting my degree and basketball career. My decision was basically solely on being close to my family and still having an opportunity to showcase my skills.”

Jones had initially contemplated St. John’s and in fact, premature reports indicated he was definitely going there. However, because his former Rice High School coach, Moe Hicks, is the Director of Basketball Operations at St. John’s, the Red Storm cannot recruit any of his former players until after June 1, 2012.

Jones averaged 9.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 38 appearances (all starts) in his recently completed sophomore season.

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