Arizona guard Lamont Jones announced he was transferring on Monday, surprising many with his decision to leave. Jones was UA's second leading scorer in 2010-11, averaging 9.7 points a game and showed considerable improvement over the second half of the season.
There were high hopes for Jones going into next season, who looked to be one of the team's leaders now that Derrick Williams has decided to go pro. It won't be an easy task replacing Jones, but luckily for the Wildcats, there is enough talent to compete for Jones' job and potentially replace his production.
A native of New York, Jones wants to be closer to his home to be near his sick grandmother. He will look to get a waiver from the NCAA, so he isn't forced to sit out the 2011-12 season. As of now, it is unknown what schools Jones will be looking at.
As far as Arizona is concerned, there are several players that will need to step up to make up for Jones' loss. Backup guard Jordin Mayes really started coming out of his shell in the postseason and will continue to be a key contributor going forward. Mayes is more of a shooter, but showed plenty of potential as a floor general and will be counted on to improve that area of his game without Jones on the roster.
There is also five-star prospect Josiah Turner who was scheduled to come in and battle for a starting job even with Jones on the roster. Now with Jones leaving, Turner's path to a starting job has one less obstacle to overcome. Turner's commitment already had UA fans excited, but now it appears the fan-base will get to see him make more of contribution once he arrives on campus.
Nick Johnson should also get more of a chance to play major minutes as a true freshman. The backcourt may be crowded even with Jones departure, but Johnson's athleticism is a perfect fit for UA's offense and he could provide the type of spark that Jones brought to the floor.
With Jones taking his services elsewhere, the logjam in the backcourt gets slightly alleviated. Now players like Turner, Johnson, Mayes and Kyle Fogg should see plenty of the floor without having to worry too much about how many minutes they will receive as all four players should see the floor often.
Arizona will miss Jones' fire and enthusiasm on the court. He was a key part of head coach Sean Miller's first recruiting class at UA and has developed great chemistry with his teammates. Without Jones' production, the Wildcats now must hope that players like Turner and Johnson come in and live up to the high expectations that are being set for them.
MoMo Jones announces transfer
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