Longhorn legend Andrew Jones says goodbye to Texas basketball after 6 years

Christina Huang , Sports Desk Editor

Andrew Jones’ six-year career at Texas has been marked by great success and deep heartbreak. On Sunday, the ninth-best scorer in program history announced that he would leave Texas to pursue an NBA career.

“We have shared every emotion possible together, and I will always cherish the experience I had with you all,” Jones said in an Instagram post announcing his departure. 

Jones’ time at Texas has been nothing short of a miracle. The former four-star recruit has lived through a rebuilding of the Texas men’s basketball program and the restoration of his own body. 

Jones was seen as a sturdy foundation piece for the Longhorns after an abysmal 11–22 record during his freshman season. Jones and current Cleveland Cavalier Jarrett Allen were the leading scorers of that 2016-17 roster. While Allen bolted for the NBA, Jones vowed to stay at Texas for another year. 

The Irving, Texas product started his sophomore season off strong, putting up 16 points against then-No.1 Duke and notching double-digit scoring in seven out of the first eight games of the season. But his season, and career, was put on pause when Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018.

He was granted a medical redshirt for the remainder of the 2017-18 season and the entire 2018-19 season. After extensive treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Jones returned for the 2019-20 campaign, his first full season since his diagnosis. 

The guard came back like he never left, averaging 11.5 points a game in his first full season since his diagnosis. Jones averaged 11.4 points during his freshman season. 

Although his play on the court flourished, the team struggled in postseason play. Head coach Shaka Smart, who had a heavy hand in Jones’ recruitment, left the team after three first round NCAA Tournament losses. 

Jones opted to remain at Texas for Chris Beard’s inaugural season to make one last run at the NCAA Tournament, and his decision paid off. The guard scored 21 points and shot 71.4% from the 3-point line against Virginia Tech in Texas’ first March Madness win since 2014. 

Jones’ time at Texas reflects the direction that the program is trending in. As a freshman, Jones was part of a team that was dead last in conference play. As a redshirt junior, Jones helped lead Texas to its first ever Big 12 Tournament title. During his senior year, the Longhorns won an NCAA Tournament game and finished the season as a Top 25 team. 

“Being one of the older guys on this team, I witnessed a coaching change, and I know how difficult it is to get a group of guys to buy into a culture of winning and (to buy) into a new philosophy,” Jones said on March 20, after losing to Purdue in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jones will have to buy into a new culture as he embarks on his journey to the NBA. 

But his impact on Texas is far from forgotten. He leaves as a top 10 all-time scorer in program history and an inspiration for many after his hard-fought battle against leukemia. Jones has even donated some of his own NIL money to the V Foundation for Cancer Research, founded by ESPN and former basketball coach Jim Valvano. 

“Going into the season when I’m playing, I’m not necessarily looking for accolades or awards,” Jones said. “I just do things out of the kindness of my heart.”