NEW YORK — Lamont "Momo" Jones on Wednesday became the second straight Oak Hill Academy starting point guard to commit to Arizona.
Only this time, ironically on the eve of Brandon Jennings
' ascension into the NBA draft, Jones says he's coming for sure.
Whereas Jennings opted to go straight from Oak Hill to Italian pro ball last season, rather than enroll at UA, Jones said he decided to become a Wildcat guard after taking an impressive visit to Tucson last weekend and meeting with new coach Sean Miller. Jones originally planned a Monday news conference but said Wednesday he did not need to wait.
"Sean Miller is a great coach," Jones said. "I watched him at Xavier and, with what he did there, I have no doubt he will do the same at Arizona. Me and my mother sat down with him and listened to him talk, and we believe this is the best place for us."
Jones signed with USC in April but was released from his letter of intent after USC coach Tim Floyd resigned this month.
Jones is a good friend of incoming UA freshman Kevin Parrom and is the godson of UA assistant coach Book Richardson, who was a close boyhood friend of Jones' now-deceased father, but Jones said those factors did not affect his decision.
"It just comes down to where you're most comfortable at," Jones said. "It had nothing to do with Book. My relationship with Book is my relationship with Book, and that's that. At the end of the day, you have to do what's best for you."
What's best for Jones is also likely in the best interests of the Wildcats, who gain a tough-minded combination guard who can play off the bench or in conjunction with senior guard Nic Wise
. Both are considered scoring point guards.
Jones is "a combo guard, but when you slice him open, he's got the DNA of a scorer," said Dave Telep, national analyst for Scout.com. "He has extreme confidence in his jump shot. He doesn't care who he's playing against; he just plays like he's got a chip on his shoulder."
Already, Jones is confident enough that he said concerns about playing time were not a consideration in his decision.
"You dream to play with good players, and he's a four-year player," Jones said of Wise. "If I had to play behind Nic Wise, I wouldn't mind, but I do think we'll play in the backcourt together. I can see that we're both interchangeable guys. Sometimes he'll be at the one (point guard), and sometimes I will. Sometimes he can be at the two, and sometimes I will. That's what makes us a team."
Jones also gives the UA a deep enough roster to be a competitive team, one that Jones said is the "team to beat" in the Pac-10.
Miller "getting (the UA) job proves how much of a great coach he is," Jones said. "You don't just give anybody the University of Arizona coaching job. You have to be some type of special coach."
Although Miller has not yet coached a game at Arizona, he is drawing praise for his recruiting. Since being hired in April, Miller has lined up four Top100 freshmen, including Parrom, Solomon Hill and big man Kyryl Natyazhko. Arizona could get a fifth after Southern California wing Derrick Williams visits the UA this weekend.
Williams said via text message Tuesday, during a visit to Memphis, that he will visit Tucson this weekend and probably make a decision early next month.
Clark Francis of HoopScoop recruiting service said Jones' addition already gives the UA a 2009 recruiting class tied for 24th.
"This shows Sean Miller can recruit good players, and (Jones) is as good as it's going to get right now," Francis said. "If I were an Arizona fan, I'd be very excited."
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