College basketball: Texas guard Andrew Jones engaging public as he battles cancer
AUSTIN, Texas — The announcement that Texas guard Andrew Jones was diagnosed with leukemia prompted concern and well wishes from across college basketball.
Jones is now starting to offer glimpses of how he is coping with his treatment, and sending "thank you" messages for the emotional and financial support that has poured in. After several weeks of silence, Jones has started posting messages on social media, including a short Twitter video Wednesday night of him shooting baskets at what appears to be a gym at the Houston hospital where he's undergoing treatment.
In the videos, Jones wears a surgical mask and never leaves his feet while shooting about five shots. The basket appears to be about 8 feet high.
"I have to be active, can't just stay in one spot all day," Jones tweeted shortly before Texas played Kansas State.
Texas announced on Jan. 10 that Jones had been diagnosed with leukemia after complaining of constantly feeling tired. He had been trying to come back from a wrist injury but hardly played in the two games when he returned to the court. The last game he played was at Iowa State on Jan. 3.
"He spent the last almost month not on his feet. It's good to see him moving around," said Texas coach Shaka Smart, who has spoken with or visited Jones regularly. "He's got a heck of a fight in front of him. But you love seeing a guy with a twinkle in his eye and just a spirit about him, and he showed that on the basketball court when he played."
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Details on Jones' diagnosis and treatment have not been released and the family isn't yet ready to make more information public, a team spokesman said. Jones is being treated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
The Longhorns (15-9, 5-6) play at TCU (16-8, 4-7) on Saturday.
Jones' diagnosis has prompted an outpouring of support across the Big 12 as well as messages from college basketball programs around the country. Opponents have regularly worn shirts with messages supporting Jones during pregame warmups or sent their own messages to Jones via social media.
Shortly after he was diagnosed, Texas set up an NCAA-approved donations webpage to support the family and it has raised about $170,000 so far. Jones, who is from Irving in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, averaged nearly 12 points as a freshman and considered leaving for the NBA draft after but returned to Texas after attending the scouting combine. His sister, Alexis, was a standout at Baylor and plays for the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx.
Jones' family has dealt with challenges in the past. Andrew was 7 in 2007 when his father was paralyzed in a car accident on an icy road. Jones was ejected from the car but escaped with only some bruising.