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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Jones adjusts to new role

It doesn’t take very long to realize Momo Jones is from New York City.

Jones brings the trash talking, Rucker Park mentality — if you attack him, you better believe he’ll be coming back at you, a mindset that basketball players from NYC all seem to share.

This season that mentality has been, for the most part, non-existent.

When Arizona takes on Rice in Houston, Texas tonight at 6 p.m., Jones hopes to find a balance in being a floor general and being the same attacking scoring guard he’s always been.

With Jones taking over the starting point guard position this season, it’s been a struggle for him to juggle being a traditional point guard and the modern day scoring point guard that he was in high school.

“”At times its mind boggling. It’s kind of frustrating because you’re used to being a scoring guard,”” Jones said of adjusting to his new role. “”I’m a scoring guard, so it’s been kind of hard not being asked to score very many points, but to distribute the ball and get everybody is kind of hard.

“”At the same time it’s fun, it’s a learning experience. As times goes on I’ll get better.””

In Arizona’s loss against then-No.6 Kansas on Saturday, Jones showed signs of getting that attacking mentality back.

When Kansas’ point guard Tyshawn Taylor attacked Jones early in the game for a couple easy lay-ups, Jones’ attitude — which had been dormant in the first five games — seemed to reappear. It was obvious that Jones didn’t take too kindly to Taylor, his friend, taking it to rack on him.

“”That’s what you do when you play against top guards and tough guards,”” Jones said of attacking. “”Me and Tyshawn know each other from the east, we played against each other a lot, that’s my boy.””

Jones finished the game with 11 points, shooting 4-for-9 from the field. He took more shots in a single game than he had all season.

“”In the beginning of the season, it was trying to find my way and getting everybody involved and trying to learn the point guard position,”” he said. “”But as time went on, and speaking to coach, I realized that though I play point guard, I still got to be as aggressive as I am and the player I am.””

Though the sophomore showed a glimpse of getting back to his aggresive ways, he also finished the loss against Kansas with no assists and four turnovers, something that head coach Sean Miller would rather not see.

“”We have to define who he is better, maybe for him,”” Miller said. “”We don’t need him to score a lot of points.

“”Kind of take what the defense gives, have a better assist to turnover ratio, be a tough defender and bring that toughness to our team I know he can bring,”” he added.

Jones showed early in the season that shooting the ball isn’t one of his strengths, by shooting 34 percent from the field and just 10 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

Jones was never known as a shooter, but many expected the improvement Jones’ showed last season to carry over. So far, that has not been the case, mostly because his role this year is much different.

Last season, Jones’ role was to give a spark off the bench, not really being asked to be the floor general.

“”If you watched his progression a year ago as a reserve guard who played two positions, now you see him early on as a starting point guard,”” Miller said. “”We’re going to live with some of that same improvement, but I have no doubt he will get better.””

Since he thrives on the road — evident in his performance last year at Stanford when he hit a buzzer beater, game-winning shot — it shouldn’t be a surprise if Jones has one of his better games tonight against Rice.

“”It’s fun, everybody against you, it’s just real fun, especially when you’re beating teams,”” Jones said.

 

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