Arizona basketball: You can't block him out

Jones a focus whether he's shooting for the win or from the hip
2011-04-01T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:45:51Z Arizona basketball: You can't block him outPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 01, 2011 12:00 am  • 

A triple-overtime win over Cal in February introduced the nation to MoMo Jones, the Arizona Wildcats' brash and boastful point guard.

In the week that followed, coach Sean Miller tried to explain Jones' comments and personality.

"He doesn't mean to come across as this self-centered player, this cocky and brash and arrogant guy, as much as to say, 'I believed in myself all along, when I know a lot of people didn't, and I'm glad I'm playing better, and hopefully I can continue it,'" Miller said.

"He just probably, as a young person, needs to articulate it a little bit better."

Jones' comments might irk his coach, but we love it. He was undoubtedly the best quote on the Wildcats, if not in the West.

Like we did following Kevin O'Neill's season as Arizona's coach, we present Jones with an honor, of sorts: a greatest hits of his comments this season.

With publication dates below each quote, we present the Wit and Wisdom of MoMo Jones:

On his mental approach

Jones makes no apologies for his attitude:

"A lot of people may take some of the things I say to heart or the wrong way. It's not trying to be that way or trying to be cocky or anything. It's just speaking how I feel." - on his comments, Feb. 10

"To be honest with you, I haven't heard it. I keep these big headphones on, and I just walk around." - on fans' expectations for the Sweet 16, March 23

"Everybody has their expectations, but that's the outside world's expectations. … Everybody on the outside world sitting there watching on TV, they can't get in contact with me. So that's their problem, not mine." - on outside pressure, Dec. 3

"It's a fun game. Life's not that serious. You gotta smile. If you're mean all the time or got a mug on your face all the time, I'd question how your life is going." - on being happy while playing, Dec. 3

On Cal

On Feb. 5, Jones led the Wildcats to a 107-105 triple-overtime win at Cal, scoring a career-high 27 points, tying the game with a three-point play in regulation, and tying it again in the second OT with a three-pointer. Here's what he said afterward:

"You're not a New York guard if you don't want the ball at the end of the clock, point blank, end of story. Growing up, that's what you live for." - on last-second shots, Feb. 6

"We looked in each other's eyes, and we knew that it was time to either lay it down or 'let's do it.' " - on the second-half comeback at Cal, Feb. 7

"This is sweet right here. This was personal. Last year we came here. They beat the hell out of us. They laughed, they joked, they danced. They debuted new great Jordan uniforms on us. It was ugly in here. I had that in mind tonight." - on Cal having beaten Arizona the year before, Feb. 6

MoMo on MoMo

Jones occasionally slipped into third person when talking about himself:

"To other people, it may be something new. People may be like, 'I want to watch it again, because MoMo put on a show.' But to me, it's just another day in the life of MoMo Jones." - on his Cal heroics, Feb. 6

"I don't necessarily think I played the basketball that MoMo likes to play." - on his play in the second half of the Pac-10 season, March 23

On opponents

Here's what Jones had to say about matchups, be it teams or individuals, this year:

"Everybody should be confident in themselves every once in a while. I love to talk trash. Where I came from, that's what we do. … I like to talk junk. I'm strong and I'm bigger. I'm more physical and I'm smarter. So that's not going to faze me." - on brash Memphis guard Joe Jackson, March 18

"Everybody tries to be tough every once in a while." - on Cal's Jorge Gutierrez, Jan. 6

"He put me in a headlock, like we were in a wrestling match. I mean, I like wrestling and all that, but, God." - on a hard foul by Stanford's Aaron Bright, Feb. 4

"It was X-rated. It was just that Kevin is my boy, that's my teammate. You stick up for what's in your circle. … We exchanged words." - on his conversation with Oregon State's Joe Burton, who was ejected after an altercation with Kevin Parrom, March 11

Locker room

Perhaps no Arizona player was more thrilled with the team's $1.5 million locker room than Jones:

"There's just water coming from everywhere. There's shower heads coming from the wall and shower heads coming from the ceiling. It's beautiful." - on the showers, Jan. 5

"A top-notch program has to have top-notch things. That's what us kids like. We like the glamour and the flashy stuff. We like to call our friends all around the country and say our locker room is better than yours. … It's fun to be able to call your boys, instead of them calling you, like, 'You should have come here. We got better stuff than you.' " - on bragging rights about the locker room, Jan. 6

"Our mindset is winning at home. People are not going to want to come in and play at McKale and then go into that (visiting) locker room. (They'll say), 'really, when is the plane leaving?' " - On home-court advantage, Jan. 5

On growing up

Jones grew up in hardscrabble Harlem, N.Y., walking past the spot every day where his stepfather was killed by a stray bullet. His childhood shaped him:

"Where I come from, you can either channel it as animosity or you can put it in this little box that I have and channel it into all the right directions. The court, it's like my sanctuary. On the court, I play with fire and I play with heart and I play with emotion - and that's my way of going to sleep at night." - on his motivations, March 26

"Coming where we come from, you want to make it so bad that you play with a chip on your shoulder. You play with your heart on your sleeve." - on his attitude, March 26

On his teammates

Jones' comments were always fiercely loyal to his teammates:

"That was probably the biggest play that I've ever been a part of. That's probably the biggest play I've ever seen." - on Derrick Williams' block against Memphis, March 19

"He can come on the floor and be him, because I'm me." - on mellow Jordin Mayes, March 20

"Kev is tough. Kev is quiet. Kev doesn't really say nothin'. His actions speak louder than his words do. Kevin's gonna elbow you. Kevin might punch you in the face. You just never know what you're going to get out of Kevin when Kevin gets mad." - on Kevin Parrom, March 24

Grab bag

An assortment:

"We might as well have played the game in Allen Fieldhouse." - on the pro-Kansas crowd in Las Vegas, Nov. 30

"It means to be nasty. It means to be physical, it means to rebound the ball. It means not to get punked most of all. It means to leave everything on the court and play with as much heart as you can play with, and with as much emotion as you can play with." - on Miller's idea of a "nasty" team attitude, March 22

"We're an iconic program, too. Arizona means more to me than Duke will ever mean to me." - on Duke, March 23

"I think if we played this game in the street, it would be just as intense." - on Duke game, March 23

On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the off-season at go.azstarnet.com/pascoe

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