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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Momo’s motive: Jones confident yet levelheaded

Lamont ?Momo? Jones pulls up for a jump shot during Thursday?s practice at McKale Center. The freshman out of New York came to Arizona hoping to leave the school among the best point guards to come through and looks forward to taking lessons from past Wildcat greats.

Over the years, the Arizona basketball program has developed a reputation as Point Guard U by shuttling a handful of lead guards to NBA success. Looking forward, head coach Sean Miller will seemingly continue that tradition.

Senior Nic Wise will be the last of the great point guards recruited by former head coach Lute Olson to play for the Wildcats. Behind him on the depth chart, a number of possibilities are available, but one player is standing out because of his own expectations.

“”This is why I made the decision to come here,”” said freshman guard Lamont “”Momo”” Jones, “”to be considered as one of those great point guards to come out of Arizona.””

Run down the list of graduated guards and Jones has a lot to live up to: Steve Kerr, Mike Bibby, Damon Stoudamire, Gilbert Arenas and even players like four-year starter Jason Gardner and Wise made Arizona a household name for aspiring point guards.

“”Behind those kind of guys, you know, it’s just great and it’s just a big dream of mine,”” Jones said. “”I have no doubt in my mind that I’ll be one of the top point guards to come out of here.””

His confidence might be a product of his New York swagger, but he’s not just blowing smoke. Jones knows the expectations of playing the point at Arizona and has already been studying former floor generals on tape.

Jones said he has watched tape of former Arizona combo guard and fellow New York product Khalid Reeves, who didn’t find quite the same success in the NBA as did the likes of Kerr and Stoudamire, but did make a name for himself playing for Olson in Tucson.

“”I wasn’t old enough (to remember Reeves) but I have watched tapes and he was a great player,”” Jones said. “”If I could be like him, I would.””

And he fits the mold of the former Wildcat, coming into the program as an excellent scorer and distributor. While at Oak Hill Academy, a prep school in Virginia, Jones slid over to the point guard spot after playing mostly as a shooting guard.

In one of the most highly regarded high school programs in the nation, Jones played for head coach Steve Smith, who has sent players — such as Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie Brandon Jennings and Nuggets’ All-Star Carmelo Anthony — to the NBA.

Likewise, Jones enters an Arizona program where the bar has been set high.

“”Just going in there with coach Steve Smith and walking in that gym and looking at those great guards … you want to be a part of that,”” Jones said. “”Going from somewhere like Oak Hill to walking in (McKale) and seeing the retired jerseys of Steve Kerr and Bibby, it’s kind of the same thing.””

Having the opportunity to play with those NBA players in the summer or the possibility of an NBA general manager giving him advice helped solidify Jones’ college choice after he was released from a commitment to suit up for USC.

His confidence is high, but Jones knows he’ll have to work hard to reach his goals. He is already talking about playing against Wise in practice and hopes to take parts of the senior’s game and implement them into his own.

Of course, he could always take some pointers from his head coach, who played point guard for the University of Pittsburgh from 1987 to 1992. Asked if he had watched any game film of Miller, Jones laughed.

“”No, but I’m sure in the future that he’ll make me look at those.””

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