Future WVU Foe Dealing With Real World Issues
West Virginia’s basketball team hosts Texas in 10 days. Between now and that Jan. 20 showdown with the Longhorns at the WVU Coliseum, the No. 2-ranked Mountaineers face rugged tests against Texas Tech (Jan. 13 in Lubbock) and Kansas (Jan. 15 in Morgantown).
But still, the the Longhorns are currently on the minds of everyone within West Virginia’s program – and indeed the all the college basketball world – as prayers are pouring into Austin for UT’s sophomore guard Austin Jones.
“After undergoing a number of tests and evaluations over the past week, Andrew has been diagnosed with leukemia,” the Jones family said in a statement released through the University of Texas on Wednesday. “He has begun treatments, and we hope everyone will keep him in your thoughts and prayers. This is obviously a difficult situation for our family, and we hope everyone will respect our privacy at this time.”
The 6-foot-3 Jones started each of the Longhorns’ first eight games, and was averaging a team-high 15.3 points a game during that stretch. But then a wrist injured forced him to the bench for four games. He returned to action in a Dec. 29 loss to Kansas and a Jan. 1 overtime victory over Iowa State, scoring seasons lows of five and eight points in the two games respectively. Then he was held out of this past Saturday’s loss at Baylor for what at the time was an unexplained illness.
Now comes the chilling news.
“Speaking for our entire team and staff, we love Andrew and will do everything we can to support his family and help him get back to health,” UT head coach Shaka Smart said. “I want to thank everyone for being respectful of the privacy that the Jones family needs at this time.”
Jones averaged 11.4 points a game for the Longhorns last year as a freshman and even put his name into consideration for the NBA draft last spring, though he pulled back out in time to return for his sophomore campaign.
Obviously Jones’ playing status will be put on hold as he undergoes treatment for leukemia.
The Longhorns, who are currently 10-5 overall on the season and 1-2 in Big 12 play, will try to fight through for the time being without their star guard. They host TCU (13-2/1-2) tonight. Texas also has games at Oklahoma State this coming Saturday and against Texas Tech in Austin next Wednesday before traveling to West Virginia for a Saturday, Jan. 20 meeting with the Mountaineers.