Longhorns expect emotional opening night with the return of Andrew Jones

Local Sports

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A key contributor to the Longhorns basketball team is back in the rotation for the 2019-20 season.

Texas faces Northern Colorado Tuesday to open the season and it will be a special night for sophomore guard Andrew Jones. Jones is expected to play legitimate minutes for the Longhorns for the first time in nearly two years.

Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018, his true sophomore season. Leaving the team for treatment, he played in two games last year early in the season before more rounds of treatment.

Now, Jones is full-go. With all the hardship Jones has gone through, Tuesday will be an emotional one for the Longhorns.

“It’s going to be very emotional, its going to give a lot of us a feeling of appreciation, just enthusiasm for the fact that he’s back out there doing what he loves. There’s no manual because he’s not the exact same as what he was, in some ways he’s better, he’s wiser, his jump shot didn’t go anywhere, his understanding of certain things, but he’s still working his way back physically, for sure,” Smart said.

Smart says Jones could be the first player off the bench for the Longhorns.

Texas is coming off a disappointing season with a promising end. The Longhorns failed to make the NCAA Tournament for the second time in four seasons under coach Shaka Smart, but won five straight games for the 2019 NIT Championship.

Texas opens against Northern Colorado before traveling to play at Purdue Saturday.

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