For the second consecutive basketball season an Iona College player captured the Haggerty Award going to the outstanding cager in the tri-state area. This honor is presented by a committee from the National Invitation Tournament and the Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Association and named after a former baseball and basketball player at St. John’s University and Chaminade High School to die in the military service during World War II.
Last year the recipient was the Gaels’ Scott Machado, who ended up in the National Basketball Association. More recently, the recipient of the laurel was senior Lamont Jones, who became the top player in the nation for Division I NCAA colleges with 249 foul shots converted. Jones also earned a spot on the honorable mention all-American team.
His career at Iona was just unbelievable, according to the coaches, and he is extremely unselfish with the ball.
Jones credits his success to his mother and father and the coaches both in high school and college.
“My father told me to be successful in life no matter what it is that I’m doing,” the Iona senior said.
Actually, Jones, a resident the Harlem section of Manhattan, started his college career at the University of Arizona, where his team advanced to the Elite eight of the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Then he chose to ‘come home’ because of family reasons, and blossomed out as as a collegian.
He then appeared in the NCAA tournament for three straight years.
This past year Jones was named player-of-the-year in the Metropolitan Atlantic Athletic Conference and lead the Gaels in scoring averaging 22.6 points per game which earned him third place in the nation. He just loves to play the sport of basketball.
Jones actually grew up in Manhattan and began his career in the PS 129th Street playground and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. From there he certainly progressed on the court.
As a freshman and sophomore, Jones played his high school ball at Rice, a private Catholic school in Manhattan, and a member of the Catholic High Schools Athletic Association. Rice closed its doors not too long ago. As a junior he transferred over to Oak Hill Academy. The 6-0 guard started in the backcourt for all four years while he was in high school. .
A very good outside shooter, Jones just wants to get better so that he can be among the list of hoopsters going into the National Basketball Association draft of college players coming late June during draft time.
“I don’t know the process just like you guys don’t know it,” Jones said at the time he received the Haggerty Award. It’s just great that we kept it (the award) at Iona for two years.