There’s a million stories in sports that can be astounding to listen to. It has been over three years since we discovered Texas guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia. Anytime an athlete hears a word of that nature, the first reaction is to quit physical activity. Well, even though it has been an uphill battle for Jones, he managed to find his way back on the court and is producing in a grand way.
It’s no question that Jones has been a fighter over the past few years. Dealing with a life threatening injury, there seemed to be one thing that he wanted to do the most; which was be out on the floor with his teammates. Jones remained confident that he could one day return to the floor for the Texas Longhorns. He would eventually return to the floor in 2018-19, but unfortunately only two games on the season.
With a fresh season in 2020-21, Jones has had the opportunity to become the best version of himself despite his circumstances. The coronavirus pandemic allowed for college prospects to come in more prepared and ready for what is in front of him. With the dedication that Jones puts into his craft, he has came into this season fresh and prepared to play at a high level in the Big 12.
Jones is averaging 14.4 points in his 12 games played. His field goal percentage continues to be lower at 41%, but he continues to provide great contributions on the floor by affecting the game outside of scoring. Jones has once again shown his marksmanship beyond the three point line, spacing the floor and shooting efficiently from that range.
Since Jones’ return to basketball, he has played with a different edge. Not to discredit his effort before, but he shows up to every game like it’s his last. It was one tough outing to get back into the groove of things at first. But with three years of battle, Jones looks better than he has ever been. He only looks to keep his momentum shifted the right way through the rest of the season..
A few of Jones’ most notable games this season include scoring 22 points against the Cade Cunningham-led Oklahoma State. The Cowboys didn’t seem to have an answer for Jones. He did what he normally does by moving without the basketball. But it was an interesting factor to watch him beat his opponents from the mid range area. Oklahoma State did a great job of keeping him away from the perimeter. Coming in the second half, he continued to catch fire and became a factor on all angles on the offensive end. It was a very efficient 47% shooting for Jones, which also resulted into a victory for the team.
How about January 9th against Virginia State? This would be the anniversary of his sickness. On a very memorable and emotional day, Jones still came into the game with a mindset to compete on both ends. He finished the game with 13 points and hit the big time three pointer late to seal the game. The one thing that nobody can take away from Jones is his confidence. He doesn’t seem to be phased in certain moments of the game. He steps into his own and makes the necessary play to seal the deal. And the world was able to grab a glimpse of that on a memorable night.
Andrew Jones is a motivational tool for many. It forces people like myself to never take things for granted. A guy who wasn’t aware whether he would play basketball again, he worked hard to step back on the court even when it didn’t seem possible. The Texas family has continued to honor Jones for his dedication and willingness to the program. When it is all said and done, Andrew Jones will be a name to remember in NCAA Basketball.