Irving MacArthur's Andrew Jones (10) attempts a layup in a game against Highland Park during the first half of a class 6A first-round playoff game at Lewisville High School in Lewisville on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

Men's Basketball

Texas’ Andrew Jones had to grow up early before basketball stardom

Life-changing accident that left his father paralyzed forced Jones to grow up quickly — because he had to.

Posted May 25th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Jones was a McDonald's All-American, the 17th Texas recruit to play in the high profile all-star game.
  • Jones' older sister, Alexis, was a Parade All-American and All-Big 12 player for Baylor's women's team.
  • Jones grew eight inches taller during his high school career, and was a consensus national top-30 recruit.

IRVING — The car accident occurred on the morning of April 7, 2007, on an icy highway in Sweetwater. David Jones was driving, and his five passengers were four members of a girls basketball team, including his daughter Alexis, and Andrew, his 7-year-old son.

Jones was the coach of the girls’ AAU team. They had left their home in Midland for an AAU tournament that Saturday in Dallas, but ice had accumulated on Interstate 20. Jones, deciding it was too dangerous to continue, made a U-turn to head back home, but lost control of the car and it crashed into a guard rail. It flipped over three or four times. One girl suffered internal bleeding. Andrew was ejected from the car, but suffered only a bruised hip.

David Jones, however, was pinned under the car.

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He was rushed to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, some 75 miles away. He was bed-ridden for three weeks, tubes penetrating his face, IVs connected to his arms, machines hooked to his body, two fractured vertebrae and his son as a witness.

Andrew Jones was in the second grade. David Jones had already established a basketball path for him. But there was no time to focus on basketball. Andrew had to help his father — paralyzed from his chest down — on his road to recovery.

“I ain’t never seen my dad laid in bed with all these tubes in his mouth and IVs,” said Andrew Jones, the Irving MacArthur star who has signed with Texas. “I’m so used to him being a strong man, always working, trying to provide for us. I couldn’t handle it.”

He learned to cook, and sometimes when his mother, Carli Seldon, came home from work at 6, exhausted, Andrew would have dinner ready — spaghetti, or chicken and rice. He learned how to change his father’s urine bag when it was full. If he left the house, he’d have to come back every two hours to make sure his father was OK. He helped put his father to bed, helping move him from wheelchair to mattress.

Andrew Jones, the baby of the family, evolved into a man in weeks, not years.

“He took care of me and did a lot of things for me that most kids his age probably wouldn’t have to do,” David Jones said from his home on a recent visit.

East guard Andrew Jones (10) from Irving MacArthur dribbles against the West center Zach Collins from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Nev., during the McDonald's All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. Jones signed his letter of intent with the Longhorns on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
East guard Andrew Jones (10) from Irving MacArthur dribbles against the West center Zach Collins from Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, Nev., during the McDonald’s All-American boys basketball game, Wednesday, March 30, 2016, in Chicago. Jones signed his letter of intent with the Longhorns on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

Andrew Jones, now 18, has grown into a basketball star. He’s a 6-foot, 5-inch defensive nightmare. He’s headed to Texas, Shaka Smart’s newest five-star toy. He’s a gifted scorer and has a chance to start for the Longhorns as a freshman.

But Jones wasn’t always a star. Growing up, he lived in the shadow of his older sister Alexis, a Parade All-American who became an All-Big 12 player at Baylor. He was Alexis’ little brother, only 5-8 as a freshman at MacArthur, a yapper with a loose handle but a solid jumper. Jones predicted his future, telling his coach that someday, he’d be a McDonald’s All-American and a Division I athlete.

“We’ll see,” MacArthur coach Mario Martin told him.

Jones yearned to make a name for himself.

“I wanted everybody to know me, and know Andrew Jones not as Alexis Jones’ little brother,” he said. “She was good, and I wanted to get out of her shadow.”

Jones averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists his senior year. He’s still a talker, more on the court than off it, but it’s usually directed more toward his teammates than opponents. He has sky-scraping expectations for his teammates.

“And when you don’t fulfill those expectations, he will let you know in a very curt manner that you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain,” Martin said.

Jones, a guard, was a consensus top 30 national recruit. He was a McDonald’s All-American — the 17th Longhorn to play in that all-star game — and will be joined at Texas by fellow signees and four-star recruits James Banks, a 6-10 center from Indiana, and Houston Yates point guard Jacob Young, the younger brother of Indiana Pacers shooting guard Joseph Young.

The kitchen counter top in Jones’ house displays honor roll certificates Andrew has earned. David Jones believes his son could have had a 4.0 GPA. Over on a table rests a glass chess board, the one that father and son would duel on when Andrew was younger. They still do even now, from time to time. David Jones has never lost.

Jones is a basketball prodigy, but he’s still a kid, and a bright one, too. He took calculus this year. Math — Algebra II, to be exact — is his favorite subject. He plans to major in business accounting at Texas.

“I like dealing with numbers and money,” Jones said. “If I do have a career in basketball, I want to be able to manage it and know what I’m doing when I’m out in the business world.”

Irving MacArthur's Andrew Jones (10) goes up for a dunk after a steal in a game against Highland Park during the first half of a class 6A first-round playoff game at Lewisville High School in Lewisville on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)
Irving MacArthur’s Andrew Jones (10) goes up for a dunk after a steal in a game against Highland Park during the first half of a class 6A first-round playoff game at Lewisville High School in Lewisville on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News)

That’s no surprise. Growing up, he was obsessed with numbers, specifically his recruiting rankings. He would lose himself online, checking where he ranked locally and nationally, using his findings as fuel.

“I used to google all the time what people were saying about me,” he said. “If somebody did a write-up, I used to go back and read it — all right, what (are) they saying, what did I do good, what do I need to work on — so I wouldn’t have any weaknesses.”

Everything Jones predicted to Martin that he’d do, happened. Including this year, when at practice the day before a game he predicted he would dunk on the opposing team’s 6-8 center. Jones got that dunk in the first half.

“I’ve kind of got a rule now,” Martin said. “If Andrew says it’s gonna happen, and it has anything to do with basketball, you should probably listen.”

It’s been nine years since the accident. David Jones has gotten stronger. So has Andrew.

“A lot of kids would rebel,” David Jones said, “and he really took the challenge, to make sure if I need something, to make sure it’s done.”

As David Jones spoke, his son was in his mother’s room, mimicking windmill dunks and working on dribbling drills with a tennis ball. It was nearly 7:30 at night, and the gym was calling. Andrew tossed on a black shirt and slid into his McDonald’s All-American shorts.

“I’ll be back,” he told his father. He then shut the door, started the car and continued down the road.

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