AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas basketball coach Shaka Smart says he’s confident about what his guards will bring to the floor this season — including Andrew Jones.
Jones played 11 minutes during the 2018-19 season all while undergoing treatment for leukemia. Unable to make an impact on the floor, Jones worked hard from the bench as a Longhorns leader and staying with the team throughout the season.
This year, Smart expects Jones to be a full participant on the court.
“We’re planning on him playing. He’s been phenomenal with his approach and his dedication — continuing to work even with the circumstances weren’t ideal for him,” Smart said.
According to Smart, Jones spent around half of the last three months with a PICC line in his arm. The treatment didn’t stop him from being in the gym or training with his teammates.
Treatment is now over. Smart says Jones is “full speed ahead.”
The Longhorns took some small steps experiencing foundational success at the end of the 2018-19 season by winning the NIT Championship. Texas finished with a 20-win season for the first time in three years.
Smart says that postseason run allowed the players to take ownership of the team — something they can build on going into the 2019-20 season.
The Longhorns open the schedule at home in six weeks against Northern Colorado.