New Texas Longhorns head coach Chris Beard received some more good news on Tuesday — in the minutes following the addition of Kentucky Wildcats point guard Devin Askew from the NCAA transfer portal, guard Andrew Jones announced his return to the program.
After thoughtful consideration with my family, God, and the new coaching staff. I’m back for another year #hookem pic.twitter.com/lt3vZJh3QK— Andrew Jones (@DrewdotCash) April 13, 2021
On the heels of a similar announcement from guard Jase Febres that he would return for his super senior season on the Forty Acres, the news from Jones marks the biggest news yet from a member of the 2020-21 roster under departed head coach Shaka Smart.
The decision by the 6’4, 192-pounder provides a key piece of continuity for Beard, who is working to replace numerous departures as well as a handful of expected departures.
After recovering from a leukemia diagnosis early in 2018, Jones averaged 11.5 points per game on 38.3 percent three-point shooting during the 2019-20 season, but subsequently had offseason surgery on a hip to fix a nagging issue.
Poor start shooting by Jones defined the start of his 2020-21 season, but he heated up as the Longhorns moved into conference play, hitting a game-winning three-pointer against West Virginia in early January and giving the Texas a one-point lead with a similar shot in the NCAA Tournament before two late free throws by Joel Pleasant gave Abilene Christian the upset victory and ended Smart’s tenure on the Forty Acres.
Jones finished his redshirt junior season leading the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game while shooting 33.8 percent from beyond the arc, a number that should improve under Beard with more consistency.
The biggest question mark with Jones is whether he can improve a shaky handle that resulted in some rather unforced turnovers as a redshirt junior, but even if he doesn’t, Jones provides proven scoring from the guard position that Beard needs to field a competitive Texas team this year.
Welcome back, AJ1.