A View from the Zoo: Arizona Basketball

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)

Well I was wrong.

The "who will leave, who will stay" saga which had filled all of Arizona fans is now over, but I think most everyone can say they did not expect Momo Jones to departing. 

This is because we all thought there were better options (ie: Alex "Tree" Jacobson) and we thought Momo's determination to prove he is better than Josiah Turner would keep him here. 

However, we did not know there were underlying family issues which is the reason why Jones said he intends to transfer.

From ArizonaAthletics.com:

 

"After much thought, I have decided to pursue my goals at a school closer to home. My desire to be closer to my family, and in particular my grandmother, is the reason I am transferring."

 For those who do not know, Jones' home is Harlem, New York, which makes St. John's and Rutgers the two most logical choices.

If I were to put money on a school, it would be St. John's.  It is a program on the rise and even though they have nine players coming in, they have that many graduating. 

On the Rutgers side, they have six players coming in and only four seniors departing.  So they are already adding two players and the addition of Momo could put them over.

Later on in the press release, Coach Sean Miller said an interesting quote that leads me to believe Jones has had his mind made up for a few months.

From ArizonaAthletics.com

"This spring MoMo expressed to me his desire to be closer to home while continuing his life as a student-athlete," said UA head coach Sean Miller. "After considering this for several weeks this spring, he's decided to leave our program."

One must remember who committed during this spring recruitment period.  That person would be Angelo Chol.  Miller consistently said he would have enough room for him if he wanted to come to Arizona.  Well, this is how he knew. 

When it comes to being around family, once a person has the thought in their mind, it makes it very hard to get out.  It also does not help one stay when the number three point guard in the 2011 class is coming in. 

I do not doubt Momo Jones wants to be near family, but by stating that is his primary reason, he is then making himself available for a waiver which means he would not have to sit out a year at the new destination.  

Do I think Jones would have lost his starting spot to an incoming guard? Yes.  Do I think he would still receive quality playing time? Yes

Jones is a basketball player without a position.  His ability to find teammates off the dribble is not good enough which limits him as a point guard.  However, his height puts him at a significant disadvantage against bigger guards.  Also, his jump shot does not give him much of a shot at the two-guard.    

If Arizona did not have Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson coming in, I believe we would be seeing Momo Jones here for another year.  Do I blame him? Not one bit.  He has to do what is best for himself and his family.  And if that comes by playing the system (slightly), he has my blessing.

Which leads me to this.  A small send off from a fan that saw every game but two (during winter vacation) and not counting march madness.  

Momo, even though you frustrated the heck out of me, I respected the way you played.  You put everything on the line and left nothing on the court.  That is all a fan can ever ask of someone.

I wish you the best at which ever school you choose to attend and know you will make their fans proud like you made Arizona's.  

You will, and forever be, a Wildcat.  

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