After being diagnosed for leukaemia in January 2018, Texas Longhorns star Andrew Jones refused to give up. A couple of nights back, he buried a game-winning three for the Longhorns in a crucial clash against the WVU Mountaineers. To top it off, Jones also received the NCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for this effort.
It has been an excellent turnaround for the 23-year-old, who joined Texas back in 2016. He beat the illness after months of fighting and successfully rejoined the team for the 2018-19 season. But after just two games, he had to go for treatment again, which forced him to miss the whole campaign.
So this Player of the Week award is just the cherry on top of the icing, which is his comeback from leukaemia.
Jones returned to play for the Longhorns in the 2019-20 season, and played 31 games. But he started just 11 games all season, and was an effective contributor of the bench. But this season he has earned a place in the starting lineup, and has started every game he has played.
He has struggled with efficiency this season, and is currently averaging just 31% from three. But he came up clutch during the big game and shot 4-7 from three against WVU. Coach Shaka Smart was appreciative of his comeback and fighting spirit during the post-game interview.
“He’s come so far,” Smart said. “I don’t know a lot of guys that would be able to do what he did from the standpoint of scraping and clawing his way back. The one thing that is just so impressive about Andrew from the beginning is, after he was diagnosed, he kept saying: ‘I’m going to come back and play. I’m going to come back and play.'”
Following the win against WVU, Texas is unbeaten so far in the Big 12 conference. They stand 4-0 tied with Baylor, and 0.5 games ahead of Kansas who are 4-1. It is going to be an uphill battle for them to fight off those two powerhouses, but Jones and the Longhorns are not quitters. They are up for the battle, and will be do their best to win their first regular season championship since 1995.