Arizona sophomore point guard Lamont "Mo Mo" Jones is transferring, citing a desire to play close to home in New York, the school announced Monday.
Jones averaged 9.7 points per game on a team that went to the Elite Eight. He was to have been the Wildcats' top returning scorer following the departure of Pac-10 player of the year Derrick Williams to the NBA draft.
"I would like to thank my coaches, my teammates and all of the U of A fans for making my two years at Arizona very special," Jones said in a statement. "After much thought, I have decided to pursue my goals at a school closer to home. My desire to be closer to my family, and in particular my grandmother, is the
reason I am transferring. I want it to be known that I love this program, my coaches and teammates. I appreciate everyone for supporting me through this tough time."
The 6-foot Jones started all 38 games this season as the Wildcats were 30-8 while winning the Pac-10 regular-season title.
"After considering this for several weeks this spring, he's decided to leave our program," coach Sean Miller said in a statement. "He did a great job in his two years here and helped us win a Pac-10 championship this past season. We wish him great success in the future."
Arizona has signed point guard Josiah Turner, who is ranked by ESPNU as the nation's No. 14 overall prospect.
The departure of Jones allows Arizona to stay within a 12-scholarship limit next season that the school self-imposed due to NCAA violations committed under former coach Lute Olson.
Diamond Leung covers college basketball for ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.