On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference announced the winners of its 2019-20 Sportsperson of the Year awards, with Texas Longhorns redshirt sophomore guard Andrew Jones named the Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year.
He’s the sixth Texas athlete to earn that recognition and the first since women’s basketball standout Imani McGee-Stafford in 2014-15. Three of the other winners were football players — Ahmard Hall (2004-05), Sam Acho (2010-11), and Nate Boyer (2012-13).
The 2019-20 winners were selected by a media panel that to recognize athletes who displayed sportsmanship, community service, and academic achievement to an extraordinary degree.
After Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in early 2018, he rejoined the team in 2018-19 after undergoing successful treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. While continuing his chemotherapy treatment, Jones appeared in two games for the Longhorns that season, then finished his treatment on an outpatient basis in September 2019 — practicing and going to class despite wearing a chemotherapy bag around his waist and a PICC line in his arm.
“Our entire Texas basketball family congratulates Andrew on this well-deserved honor,” Texas head coach Shaka Smart said. “His courage, strength, and resiliency have served as an inspiration to so many. It has been especially rewarding to see Andrew’s positive impact extend well beyond the basketball arena. What’s equally exciting is the fact that Andrew continues to grow and develop, both on and off the court. The best is yet to come.”
When the 2019-20 season began, Jones was only a few weeks removed from his final treatment, but returned to the court with an emphatic statement against Northern Colorado in the season opener, scoring 20 points — then his career high — on 8-of-13 shooting that included four three-pointers.
Jones was a consistent contributor all season, but played some of his best basketball down the stretch when the Longhorns were battling injuries. During the five-game winning streak late in conference play, Jones averaged a team-best 17.2 points per game while hitting 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) threes in 34.9 minutes per contest.
When the coronavirus pandemic ended the season early, Jones finished his comeback season by averaging 11.5 points per game and hitting 38.3 percent from three-point range.
Off the court, Jones has reached out to other cancer patients and served as a featured speaker at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2019. Despite the disruptions caused by his cancer treatment, he’s on track to graduate and wants to create his own foundation to fight pediatric leukemia.