Matt Jones to rejoin UA hoops team

University of Arkansas' playmaking quarterback to rejoin Razorback basketball team after taking a year off during the 2002-2003 campaign.

University of Arkansas junior quarterback Matt Jones will rejoin the basketball team next week after a year off and work on a very limited basis on days they don't have football practice.

"Matt is going to play basketball after the (Independence) Bowl game (Dec. 31 against Missouri)," Arkansas basketball coach Stan Heath said Monday. "(UA head football) Coach (Houston) Nutt and I talked about it - and Matt as well - and we are all on the same page.

"Matt will do small things, non-contact type things when he has availability," Heath added, "whether it is dummy offense or just making lay-ups or shooting free throws. He won't have any contact and it will always come second to football and preparing for the bowl game."

Jones took in Arkansas' Sunday practice.

"After we got done he shot a little bit, but that's all," Heath said. "He had talked to me, I talked to Coach Nutt, he talked to Coach Nutt and then Coach Nutt and I talked about it today."

Heath welcomes the 6-7, 238-pound forward him aboard after Jones took last basketball season off. He averaged 4.2 points and 2.3 rebounds in 11 games as a freshman while starting two of those.

"He's got athleticism and he's got size," Heath said. "When you look at some of the teams we face we don't have a good matchup when we play against a mobile, versatile power forward. He provides us with a guy that can move his feet and get up and down the court. I think he can help with rebounding and interior defense and make some pretty decent passes."

Heath has only seen Jones, who broke former Razorback Corliss Williamson's AAAAA-West single-season scoring average with 24.5 points per game as a junior at Van Buren, play on on tape.

Arkansas will be without 6-10 freshman forward until likely after Christmas after he suffered a dislocated shoulder against Illinois.

"He's active and skilled enough that he can take it off the dribble and make some plays," Heath said of Jones. "I don't expect him to come in here and be a dominant force, but he can help us inside, especially now with Vincent out."

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