Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Lamont “Momo” Jones Saga has taken yet another turn.
Jones, a 6-foot point guard from New York City, will arrive tonight at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., and suit up for head coach Steve Smith. Jones will replace Tommy Mason-Griffin, who opted to head back to Houston (TX) Madison after initially planning on playing at Oak Hill.
“Hopefully, (Jones) will bring a lot of leadership and ability to run our team,” Smith said by phone. “That’s what I’m banking on. That’s what I expected Tommy to do, so I’m expecting Momo to do the same thing. I think he’s very capable. He kind of evolved from a two to a one. He used to be looked at as a guy who shot it a lot. I think he’s a guy that I can coach and can be a productive point guard on our team, like the last six or seven points guards on our team. I’ve been spoiled.”
Last year, Oak Hill was led by Brandon Jennings, who then opted to play professionally in Italy instead of attending Arizona.
Jones holds offers from Seton Hall, St. John’s, South Florida, Oklahoma State, Xavier, UMass and Providence.
He began his career at Rice before transferring to American Christian (Pa.) and playing alongside Tyreke Evans. He considered St. Anthony in Jersey City, but coach Bob Hurley said the school prohibited taking incoming seniors. Jones’ status at Rice was uncertain because the CHSAA would have had to approve him playing this year.
“Yes, I think there was some question on his eligibility,” Smith said.
Jones will join Doron Lamb, who transferred from Bishop Loughlin, Keith “Tiny” Gallon, Glen Bryant, Pe’Shon Howard, Chason Campbell, Bryon Allen and 6-11 Baye Moussa Keita, a junior from Senegal, on the Oak Hill roster.
Oak Hill is due to meet North Carolina commit Dexter Strickland and St. Patrick of Elizabeth Feb. 14 and Fuquan Edwin and Paterson Catholic Feb. 15. Both games will take place in Trenton, NJ in the PrimeTime Shootout.
ALEXANDER TO KENNEDYIn another, albeit less high-profile high school transfer, Antoine Alexander has transferred from Paterson (NJ) Eastside and will play for Kennedy coach Jim Ring.
“He is enrolled at International High School and the transfer waiver has been set,” Ring said. “He will be playing here once his credits check out.”
Alexander becomes the second talented guard to come to Kennedy this week, following Asmar Edwards, formerly of Passaic Tech. Both players will suit up Wednesday night in the Fall Ball at Paterson Kennedy.
Edwards and Alexander will join a talented core of Kennedy players including guards Shondell Stewart, Daquere Hayes and Dawon Lighty.
“It’s not often you get the opportunity to get two two quality kids like that to come to your program,” Ring said. “We were fortunate this week to not just one get one, but we got two.”
The additions of Edwards and Alexander have Ring talking about returning Kennedy to the glory years, including the 2000 team that featured All-State guards Mike Cleaves and James Lattimore.
“We have a lot of basketball players,” Ring said. “If you remember the way that Kennedy used to look when we had Cleaves and Lattimore in the backcourt, that’s who we’re going to look like. We don’t have true center, but we have a group of players who know how to play the game of basketball, and I’m excited about playing an up-tempo style of basketball.”
Eastside still has Karon Abraham and Bryant Lewis, but Alexander came off the bench to provide a scoring spark last season when Eastside reached the Passaic County title game and won the North 1, Group 4 final.
Paterson Catholic remains the favorite in Passaic County, but the additions of Edwards and Alexander definitely help Kennedy.
In scheduling news, Kennedy will once again play West Milford Jan. 21 at Kennedy. Chuck McBreen of Ramapo College is also hosting an event Dec. 21 that will feature West Milford-Newark East Side and Ramapo-Garfield. Elmwood Park and Kennedy will also play but not necessarily against each other.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.