Lamont Jones headed to Iona

Former Rice High School and University of Arizona point guard Lamont "MoMo" Jones is transferring to Iona.

Jones, a Harlem native, was also considering nearby Seton Hall and Hofstra, among several other schools. Instead, he elected to join the Gaels, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Rumors had swirled in recent weeks that Jones was interested in transferring to St. John's, but he was prohibited from doing so by NCAA rules because Moe Hicks, currently on the coaching staff at St. John's, also coached Jones for part of his high school career.

Jones averaged 9.7 points and 2.4 assists per game for Arizona last season, helping lead them to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight, where they lost a nail-biter to eventual national champion UConn. He announced on May 16 that he intended to transfer.

"After much thought, I have decided to pursue my goals at a school closer to home," Jones said in a statement. "My desire to be closer to my family, and in particular my grandmother, is the reason I am transferring."

The rising junior will have two years of eligibility remaining. Normally he would have to sit out the upcoming season, but Jones is expected to apply for a hardship waiver because his grandmother is ill and could be cleared to play this season.

Iona went 25-12 last season under first-year coach Tim Cluess. It lost to St. Peter's in the MAAC tournament championship game and will return the core of last year's team.

Kieran Darcy is a staff writer for ESPNNewYork.com.