I'm feeling slightly embarrassed. After I wrote a column for the Arizona Daily Wildcat about how a new, and stupid, rule was implemented to the NCAA, I forgot to consider it when trying to figure out where outgoing Wildcat Lamont 'Momo' Jones would be headed.
Lots of hearsay pointed to St. John's. It's a Big East program on the rise, right in Jones' New York backyard and the director of basketball operations man, Moe Hicks, was Jones' high school coach at Rice High School in Jones' freshman and sophomore years.
And that last bit is the problem.The new rule says this about non-coaching positions given to people who know recruits:
"... during a two-year period before a prospective student-athlete's anticipated enrollment and a two-year period after the student-athlete's actual enrollment, an institution shall not employ an individual associated with the prospective student-athlete in any athletics department non-coaching staff position."
Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com reports that Jones indeed is unlikely to go to St. John's at this point, as he'd have to play a year at a junior college to gain eligibility and play for a staff that includes Hicks.
Here's what Dermon Player, a former St. John's assistant who is helping Jones with his decision, told Zagoria:
"Everybody thought he was going to St. John's but now he's not," Player, the former Seton Hall and St. John's assistant who is advising Jones on his transfer from Arizona, told SNY.tv exclusively Tuesday.
That still leaves Jones with some pretty good options. Player told Zagoria that he'd be talking to UConn today (Tuesday) while schools like Seton Hall, Hofsta, Iona and Siena are all on the table, all small schools but good enough to get Jones some playing time. Or maybe he could just replace Kemba Walker at UConn. Who knows?
While it's of my opinion, as seen in my past column, that the NCAA bylaw is petty and just another rule the NCAA can use to pretend they're keeping the sanctity of the sport in place -- too bad they can't enforce illegal recruiting until said players have already left their institutions -- picodulce at Rumble in the Garden thinks that the Red Storm might be unwilling to deal with Jones and his drama.
... that conspiracy theorist in me says that St. John's just doesn't want none of Momo and his drama. I think St. John's could challenge the rule, and challenge it successfully; it's been a long time since Momo and Moe were on a court together.
The youthful Red Storm squad might need another player or two, but maybe this is the one that would upset the building chemistry of the "Noble Nine".