MoMo Jones spent only two seasons with the Arizona Wildcats, but says he feels pretty strongly about Tucson.
So much so that he decided to run a charity skills camp here this month, while doing the same in his native New York later this month.
“I wanted to do it in places that affected my life,” Jones said today. “So I figured what two better places than Arizona and New York?”
The camp will run half-days from June 19 to 22 at the Lohse YMCA, for youth ages 10-18. The $100 fee, Jones said, will go completely toward buying school supplies for Tucson kids who can’t afford it.
Jones said he, longtime friend and former UA teammate Kevin Parrom and former Wildcat Mark Lyons will work the Tucson camp, as well as possibly Jamelle Horne. In New York, he said, Derrick Williams is expected to be on hand.
Jones, who transferred in 2011 to play his final two seasons at Iona, split his first professional season last year with teams in Japan and Qatar. He said the two experiences were completely different, both on the court and off – with his Japanese team putting him up in an apartment while Jones was offered a hotel and three paid meals a day in Qatar.
“It was definitely different but you learn something from both,” Jones said.
Jones said he is now basing himself in Los Angeles, where his wife is from, though he said he’s trying to talk her into relocating to Tucson. Although there remain questions about why Jones transferred, he said he has “no hard feelings” with UA coaches.
“After my junior year at Iona (in 2012) I came back to Arizona for a week and a half, and sat down talked to coach (Sean) Miller, talked to (James) Whitford and got to talk with everybody,” Jones said. “Me and coach Miller sat down one-to-one and talked to clear the air.
"Then the summer after that I came back and I’ve been there every summer since.”
Former UA guard Jerryd Bayless is also planning a camp from June 30 to July 2, in conjunction with the Tucson Summer Pro League. That half-day camp is offered to kids age 7-14 at St. Gregory’s for $150.
The TPSL will hold its annual opening dinner Saturday at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. The league is expected to feature appearances by Jones, Parrom, Brendon Lavender and possibly other former and current Wildcats.