By Steve Lansdale
AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas men’s basketball team got an unpredicted boost for the 2017-18 season when guard Andrew Jones withdrew his name from the NBA Draft.
Jones, who was a freshman on last year’s Texas team that went 11-22 in 2016-17.
“I’m officially withdrawing my name from the NBA Draft,” Jones announced via his twitter account. “I’ve matured and learned a lot through this process. I enjoyed the experience and opportunity that I had to be able to participate in the combine and team workouts.
“I would like to thank my family and coaches for their love and guidance. Also, I appreciate the fans for their support, and I’m ready to get back to Austin. Time to go work with my teammates.”
Jones made the rounds this spring, taking part in the NBA Draft Combine and attending several individual and group workouts for assorted teams.
"I really enjoyed the experience, and I believe I got the most out of being able to play against top competition throughout this process," Jones said in a statement released through the UT athletic department. "I would like to thank the NBA executives for allowing me to work out for them and participate in the combine. I feel that I learned a lot and hope to carry that over into my sophomore season."
Jones started 23 of the 33 games in which he played during his debut season with the Longhorns. He tied for the team lead in assists (117, 3.5 per game) and ranked second in steals (41), third in scoring (11.4 points per game), and fourth in minutes per game (27.9) and rebounding (3.9 per game).
Head coach Shaka Smart said that the process of considering the draft helped Jones mature, and should make him an even bigger contributor in his sophomore season.
"Andrew has taken a mature approach to gathering feedback from NBA teams about areas where he can continue to grow," Smart said. "His work ethic has been terrific, and he is highly motivated to develop and help his team win. Our coaching staff is very excited to help him continue to move forward, on and off the court."