Andrew Jones is a part of our Heartland College Sports Big 12 men’s Top 25 returning players countdown as we get closer to the 2021-22 college basketball season opener.
No. 1: Andrew Jones, G, Texas
Where he left off: After his long journey back from leukemia, Jones looked like the player who was setting the league ablaze in 2017-18 before his diagnosis. He started all but one game and was named All-Big 12 Second Team after leading the Longhorns in scoring with 14.6 points per game.
Jones also averaged 2.3 assists and 31.5 minutes per game. He also grabbed 4.5 rebounds per game. In Big 12 play, his scoring average went up to 16.6 and he scored 20 points five times in 17 Big 12 games. He helped lead Texas to its first Big 12 Tournament title. He ranks No. 23 on UT’s all-time scoring list (1,251 points) entering the 2021-22 season.
Where he’s headed: Curiously, Jones didn’t put his name in for the NBA Draft. Perhaps he didn’t need his report card. Perhaps he saw that mock drafts weren’t putting him in the first two rounds and decided he needed another year of college. Regardless, his ability to take over a game offensively makes him one of the best weapons in the Big 12 on any given night. His defense improved in leaps last season, and it should improve again this year under new head coach Chris Beard. It wouldn’t surprise me if he put on a little muscle, either, something the NBA will likely require from the lithe guard. If there’s one thing for Jones to work on, it’s his 3-point shooting. But keep this in mind — he shot nearly 40 percent from distance in 2019-20 and only saw a six percent dip last year. He can bounce back. And he’ll benefit from Marcus Carr joining the lineup. His scoring average could actually go up as Carr draws more attention.
Top 25 criteria: ONLY players that played in the Big 12 last season were considered. Rankings are based on where players left off at the end of last season, as we are not able to make assumptions about the improvements players have made this offseason.
Heartland College Sports Big 12 Basketball Preview
Top 25 Returning Players: No. 25 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua| No. 24 Christian Braun | No. 23 Rondel Walker | No. 22 Umoja Gibson | No. 21 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe | No. 20 Nijel Pack | No. 19: Marcus Santos-Silva | No. 18 Mike McGuirl| No. 17 Jalen Bridges | No. 16 Kalib Boone | No. 15 Kevin McCullar | No. 14 Isaac Likekele | No. 13 Adam Flagler | No. 12 Jalen Coleman-Lands | No. 11 Sean McNeil | No. 10 Taz Sherman | No. 9 Matthew Mayer | No. 8 Jalen Wilson | No. 7 Courtney Ramey | No. 6 Mike Miles | No. 5 Avery Anderson III | No. 4 David McCormack | No. 3 Terrence Shannon Jr.
Challenge Series: Big 12-Big East Battle
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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