Texas basketball star Andrew Jones met with the media Wednesday afternoon for the first time since the junior was diagnosed with leukemia last January.
Jones shared a little bit about his cancer battle, thanked the Longhorn family for their support and talked about his return and expectations around the 2018-2019 basketball season.
Below are some of the highlights:
Andrew Jones addresses the media today for the first time since his diagnosis.— Texas Basketball (@TexasMBB) October 31, 2018
Andrew Jones said in the winter following his injury at VCU, it took longer than normal for him to “get his wind back.”— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) October 31, 2018
“I felt like I was tired. I felt like I was moving slowly.” #HookEm
Andrew Jones leads off with a list of thank-yous. "I’d like to thank my doctors at MD Anderson. They were great."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones: "Throughout the first two months, I was closed off from the world." Said he started watching TV, watching social media. "That’s when I realized that people are really fighting for me to survive."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones: "My doctors had a great support system, had a great plan for me. They reassured me I would be back playing within the next year. That was the main turning point, that he said I would be able to play again."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones: "Coach Smart, he came and saw me every time that he could. I really appreciate him coming out there and supporting me whenever he could, that really meant a lot."— Nick Moyle (@NRMoyle) October 31, 2018
Jones said doctors said he'd be able to play basketball again within the year. Said he wasn't sure whether to believe, but had no choice. And now here he is— Nick Moyle (@NRMoyle) October 31, 2018
Jones: "I never knew if I would dunk again. When I was finally able to flush a dunk easy, I thought, ‘OK, maybe I’ll be able to make a stronger comeback.’"— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones on support from around the country: “It was surreal to me. I didn’t know it would draw this much attention.”#HookEm— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) October 31, 2018
Jones: “Only time can tell what I’m able to do throughout this season. Every opportunity I’m given, I’m going to show as much as I can.” #HookEm— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) October 31, 2018
Andrew Jones meeting with the media today months removed from beating leukemia.— Jeff Barker (@JeffBarker_) October 31, 2018
"I didn't want to feel like a victim...God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers." #HookEm pic.twitter.com/eEN0y9pd9s
Jones said Chris Paul reached out, "was a big one for me." He went to CP3's camp the summer before. Facetimed him. John Wall also reached out.— Nick Moyle (@NRMoyle) October 31, 2018
Jones says he’s added weight and muscle since he returned, and is close to his previous playing weight. #hookem— Joe Cook (@josephcook89) October 31, 2018
Andrew Jones says he'll have to temporarily leave the team in December for a few more pre-planned treatments. Probably after the Purdue game.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones said his teammates are going hard at him -- "they have no choice" -- because you best believe he's coming as hard as possible at them— Nick Moyle (@NRMoyle) October 31, 2018
Jones on what he could contribute this season: "I’m just going day by day. Only time will tell what I’m able to do this season."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones: "I always try to promote cancer awareness. I just want everybody to support it. It could happen to anybody at any given moment."— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) October 31, 2018
Jones: Only the strong survive, that's been something I've lived by these last few months. It's a choice whether you want to go on and fight through adversity....my biggest thing is just never give up. If you're strong-hearted, strong mentally, you can persevere through anything— Nick Moyle (@NRMoyle) October 31, 2018
Texas basketball kicks off the season next Tuesday, November 6 against Eastern Illinois and follows that game with a marquee non-conference home contest Friday, November 9 against Arkansas.
While the Frank Erwin Center is routinely mocked as one of the quietest places to play in college basketball, I have to imagine it will be as loud as it has ever been when Jones walks out of the tunnel and rejoins his teammates for the first time — as it should be.
Welcome back, #AJ1.
Update (1:57 p.m.): Below is full video of the press conference.