Now that Lamont “Momo” Jones has agreed to come to Iona and possibly even play during the 2011-12 season, the Gaels are being talked about as not only the MAAC’s (and NYC’s) top team, but a sleeper to make a deep NCAA Tournament run.
It really seems like people are getting ahead of themselves and I’d like to dig back into the value add well to explain why.
While value add has its flaws, one of the best things about the metric is that it adjusts for competition. Thus the percentage contribution that Jones made last season for Arizona is actually comparable to the contribution players made in the MAAC. And when you look at it there are two big takeaways:
1) If Jones had played in the MAAC last season he wouldn’t even be ranked amongst the top 20 players in the conference. (In fact, he’d be ranked 21st amongst returning players.)
2) Jones ranks as just the fifth best returning player for the Gaels next season.
Jones’ transfer is certainly going to help Iona’s depth next season if he’s eligible, but it’s not the big game changing event that some people have made it out to be unless he really shines playing off the ball next season. Even then he’ll be learning a new system and adjusting to a new team, so expectations should be tempered a bit. Winning the MAAC is going to be a hard task in it’s own right due to the talent returning at Fairfield (last season’s regular season champion) and St. Peter’s (last season’s tournament champion). There’s still a long road for the Gaels to climb before they reach that peak.