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.
Lamont “Momo” Jones has been granted a hardship waiver by the NCAA to play this season at Iona, as first reported Thursday by SNY.tv.
“I’m pretty excited about it,” Iona coach Tim Cluess told SNY.tv by phone. “I’m really excited and happy for the kid. The whole Iona community is thrilled to be adding him as part of our team for this year.”
Jones, who transferred from Arizona, has a grandmother living in Harlem battling a liver ailment. That was the basis of the hardship waiver request.
“Family comes first,” said Jones. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to play at Iona College this year with some tremendous players that I’ve known for a while, but in the end, I’m happy to be home and happy to be able to help my family through this tough time. I’m grateful to the NCAA for granting the waiver which allows me to be nearer to my family and to be able to complete my degree in two years instead of three.”
Jones averaged 9.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in 38 appearances as a sophomore at Arizona.
His addition to an Iona team that reached the MAAC championship game before losing to St. Peter’s should be a huge bonus. The Gaels already return top scorers junior forward Mike Glover (18.4 ppg, 10.1 rpg), junior guard Scott Machado (13.2 ppg, 7.6 apg) sophomore guard Kyle Smyth (10.1 ppg) and junior guard Jermel Jenkins (9.2 ppg)
Cluess said he plans to use Jones and Machado together in what should be a loaded backcourt.
“I think it just adds another high-level player to our backcourt, which I think was very good to begin with,” Cluess said. “So now we just have another piece that we can use in a variety of ways. Now that we know he can play, we’re going to try different combinations in practice to see what it looks like
“I can see him being the point guard, I can see him playing off the ball. I think he’ll be a combination of both for us during the year. And I think his experience and leadership are two of the things that are going to help us tremendously on the court.”
With Glover, Machado and Jones, Iona will have three of the best players in the MAAC, and Cluess knows his job now is to coach them up to meet expectations.
“I enjoy coaching players who want to compete and that’s what I’m looking to see out of these guys, if they’re willing to do that or not,” he said.
**Fatherhood providing added motivation for Iona’s Glover
**Iona hoping Jones provides ‘New York swagger‘
**Momo Jones to Iona
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.