Andrew Jones

Getty Images

Texas’ Andrew Jones goes for career-high 20 points in return from leukemia treatment

1 Comment

Texas guard Andrew Jones has missed the better part of the past two seasons undergoing treatment for leukemia.

A former McDonald’s All-American who was averaging 13.5 points per game during a promising second season of college basketball during the 2017-18 season, Jones received his diagnosis after appearing in 10 games and didn’t play the rest of the year. Although Jones returned to the team to appear in two games last season, he also missed the majority of the Texas season to continue treatment.

Jones made his return to the team full time during the opening night of the college hoops on Tuesday night as he scored a career-high 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting to pace the Longhorns to a 69-45 win over Northern Colorado. Missing 23 months of basketball, Tuesday was an incredible moment for Jones as he was 4-for-5 from three-point range.

Finishing with 29 minutes on the night, it will be fascinating to see how Jones plays through the 2019-20 season. Highly-ranked coming out of high school, Jones was a double-figure scorer as a freshman who seemed to be turning the corner as a sophomore before missing time to recover.

Northern Colorado isn’t the toughest test for the Longhorns and Jones, but it’s also a Division I opponent and the first competitive live game for Jones in nearly two years. For him to pour in 20 points is a pretty amazing accomplishment as he’ll be one of the stories to watch in college basketball this season.

Jones returning to play for Texas is a great enough story. And if he’s able to become a regular Texas rotation player it’ll make for a tremendous turnaround. As it stands, it’s just nice to see Jones back on the court and thriving at something that used to come so easy for him.

Texas guard Andrew Jones faced ‘biggest fear’ in leukemia fight

Getty Images
Leave a comment

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Even when his whole body ached just to walk, and everywhere he went meant taking along a chemotherapy bag attached to a tube going straight into his body, Andrew Jones had a goal: Get back to basketball.

That included a mission to dunk, which took about two weeks or three weeks and was celebrated with a video on social media.

“I never knew if I would dunk again. When I was finally able to flush a dunk easy, I thought, ‘OK, maybe I’ll be able to make a stronger comeback,’” Jones said Wednesday, nearly 11 months after he was first diagnosed with leukemia and had to leave the team for treatment last season.

Jones returned to school over the summer and rejoined his team for the upcoming season, which starts Nov. 6 against Eastern Illinois. Jones has been pushing himself hard to get back to playing shape but calls himself “day to day” in terms of being ready to return to live competition.

Coach Shaka Smart has said the team will want to make sure Jones is strong enough to play. He will also have to step away for several weeks for a scheduled treatment in December.

But just getting to this point, where he could sit in front a news conference to talk about a comeback from cancer, is a major victory for the 20-year-old guard.

“My biggest thing is never give up. Only the strong survive. If you’re strong-hearted and strong mentally, you can persevere through anything,” Jones said. “Every day I look in the mirror, I know I’m improving,”

Jones considered leaving for the NBA after his freshman season. He was diagnosed in January after he simply couldn’t keep up with his teammates in practice and felt unusually tired. After practice, he’d take himself to his room and sleep instead of socializing.

“It would take me a long time to recover. I didn’t want to hang out with anybody,” Jones said. “Usually I can get up and down the court with ease, I felt like I was tired, like I was moving slowly.”

Jones immediately went into treatment after the diagnosis. Told at first he would be in a two-year program, that prognosis was cut in half when he transferred his treatment to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“The disease cancer has always been my biggest fear … I really had to face my fears,” Jones said. He refused to let himself be scared of dying.

“I’ll be optimistic,” Jones said he told himself. “It’s not my time yet.”

Jones also was inspired by the outpouring of support that came in from Texas fans, Big 12 opponents and from across college basketball.

“That’s when I realized people are really fighting for me to survive. People are really rooting for me, Jones said. “I knew I just can’t give up.”

Jones would offer peeks at his progress on social media. He’d post short videos of him dribbling or shooting baskets. Sometimes he’d still be wearing surgical mask to help prevent infection.

“Being able to play basketball really drove me,” Jones said.

Jones re-enrolled in online classes by the summer and returned to training camp with his teammates this fall. A broken toe was a bit of a setback, but he called it a “blessing in disguise” because it allowed him time to put on more weight. He warned his teammates not to take it easy on him in practice.

“They have no choice. I’m coming at them full throttle,” he said.

Jones said when the Longhorns get into the Big 12, he’ll thank opposing players and coaches who sent him get-well greetings and offered support. Then it will be time to play.

“I’m grateful. Before the game I will thank them, but between those lines … it can’t be no buddy-buddy,” Jones said. “Between those lines, we’re competitors.”

Texas guard Andrew Jones out with a fractured toe

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas junior guard Andrew Jones suffered an unfortunate setback in practice this week as he sustained a fractured toe in his right foot during Thursday’s practice. According to a release from Texas, there is no current timetable for Jones to return from the injury.

The 6-foot-4 Jones is currently in the midst of making a full return to basketball after being diagnosed with leukemia in January. Missing the second half of last season, Jones has made an inspiring comeback to the floor over the last several months as he has been practicing and planning to play with the Longhorns this season. Jones completed his chemotherapy treatments in August.

While it isn’t clear how much Jones could have played this upcoming season, the fractured toe is another setback that will cause the junior guard to miss additional time. The leading scorer for Texas last season at the time of his diagnosis, Jones is a former McDonald’s All-American who was a double-figure scorer during his first two seasons with Texas.

Texas’ Andrew Jones continues to make progress in fight against leukemia

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Since being diagnosed with leukemia in January, Texas’ Andrew Jones has steadily battled his way back to health. He’s undergone treatments, gotten back to working out and even enrolled in online classes.

The next chapter has him returning to campus.

Jones will be enrolled in the fall semester and living in the dorms when school starts next week at Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

I’m on schedule to finish up this current round of treatment on Friday in Houston and then head to Austin to move back into the dorm,” Jones told the American-Statesman. “I plan to begin classes next Wednesday for the fall semester, and I’m really excited and looking forward to being back on campus at UT with all the other students.

“I’ve still got some treatments down the road,” Jones added, “but I want to let everyone know that I’m feeling better and better every day. I can’t thank everyone enough for their support and prayers.”

Jones, who recently was the subject of a Players Tribune documentary, was averaging 13.5 points while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 46.3 percent from 3-point range before his diagnosis midway through his sophomore season.

He is still uncertain of his status for Texas’ upcoming season, but more importantly he continues to make progress against a disease that upended his life less than a year ago. Returning to a supportive community – both his teammates and his classmates – is undoubtedly a huge step for Jones.


Texas’ Jones out with a broken wrist

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas may be without its leading scorer heading into conference play.

Longhorns coach Shaka Smart announced Monday that sophomore Andrew Jones suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist and will be sidelined for the foreseeable future.

“Fortunately it’s not one of those injuries where he should be out for an extended long period of time,” Smart said at his news conference Monday, “but he’s going to miss at least the next few games before Christmas. They decided not to put it in a cast, which is good news.”

Jones suffered the injury last week against VCU when he took a number of tumbles to the floor. He’s averaging 15.3 points while shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

“It’s a tough injury for us because he’s our leading scorer and has done a phenomenal job for us this year,” Smart said. “We’re going to need everyone on our team, not just guards, but everyone on our team to step up and take a little more responsibility.

“Your margin for error is a little smaller.”

The Longhorns, who are 6-2 with losses to Duke and Gonzaga, face Michigan on Tuesday, Louisiana Tech on Saturday and Alabama next week. Jones is certainly out for those games, and his availability for Texas’ first Big 12 games – Dec. 29 vs. Kansas and Jan. 1 at Iowa State – would seem to be in question.

“We don’t have an exact timeframe,” Smart said. “It’s really good news they didn’t put it in a cast.

“We’re hopeful that we can get him back in three, four weeks, but that’s not a set timetable.”


Report: Texas’ Jones to test NBA possibility

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
1 Comment

Both of Texas’ McDonald’s All-Americans from its 2016 class will test the NBA waters.

Andrew Jones will declare for the draft, but will not hire an agent, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

The 6-foot-4 guard joins Jarrett Allen, the Longhorns’ star center, in utilizing the rule change that became available to players last year in which they can declare, workout for teams, attend the NBA combine and still return to school.

Jones averaged 11.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman. He shot 42.5 percent from the field overall and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Allen seems the likelier candidate to remain in the draft as a potential lottery pick, but Jones came to Austin with similar one-and-done possibilities given his status as one of the class’ top recruits.

Texas, of course, is hoping both return, not just because they’re both big talents, but because incoming and highly-touted recruit Matt Coleman fills the major hole in last year’s lineup – point guard. If the three of them can share the floor together, Year 3 of the Shaka Smart era will be much more interesting.