Andrew Jones, Jase Febres announce they are staying on whirlwind day for Texas basketball
Coach Chris Beard lands commitment from Kentucky transfer Devin Askew, hires Texas Tech’s strength coach
Chris Beard’s first Texas basketball team is starting to take a familiar shape.
Veteran guards Andrew Jones and Jase Febres announced they are coming back next season, providing the Longhorns with two savvy scorers with something to prove.
Also coming and going, Texas picked up a commitment from Kentucky transfer Devin Askew, according to 247Sports. Late Tuesday, Utah forward Timmy Allen, a career 15.6-point scorer, also announced he was transferring to Austin.
But four-star guard Emarion Ellis, who signed under former coach Shaka Smart, said he would not come to UT and instead will play for Smart at Marquette.
This projects to be a busy week for Texas men’s basketball news. Jaylon Tyson, the 6-foot-9 forward from Plano John Paul II, is expected to sign an athletic scholarship agreement when the early signing period begins Wednesday.
Beard announced the hiring of his strength and conditioning coach on Tuesday, and the rest of the staff could be officially confirmed by the end of the week. John Reilly spent the last five seasons as Beard’s strength coach at Texas Tech.
“We’re going to win in Austin, and I’m not afraid to say it,” Reilly said in a statement.
Jones, widely admired for battling through leukemia, is coming off his best season. The 6-4 guard from Irving averaged 14.6 points and shot 34% from 3-point range while helping Texas finish third in the Big 12.
“After thoughtful consideration with my family, God, and the new coaching staff, I’m back for another year #hookem,” Jones tweeted on Tuesday.
Febres, a 6-5 guard from Houston, posted his announcement on social media late Monday. “Let’s run it back,” Febres’ meme stated.
“Officially announcing that I will be taking my covid year to continue playing at The University of Texas // #hookem,” Febres posted on Instagram.
Febres will be considered a “super senior,” a term that’s gaining popularity in NCAA circles. The NCAA granted all athletes an extra year of eligibility because of COVID-19. Jones would technically be classified a regular senior; he missed most of the 2018-19 season while recuperating from his leukemia diagnosis.
Febres didn’t play a full senior season after microfracture surgery in spring 2020. He wasn’t cleared for full five-on-five work until late in the year and ended up playing in just 13 games.
Still, Febres showed that when he’s in rhythm, he’s a dynamite 3-point threat. He was 6-for-11 from 3-point range in key late-season wins at Iowa State and Oklahoma. He also was 5-for-9 from long range against Texas Tech — Beard’s former team — at the Big 12 Tournament.
Febres finished the season 20-for-51 from downtown (39.2%). He’s made 192 career 3-pointers and shot 36.2% in four seasons from 3-point range.
Askew, a 6-3 guard from Sacramento, Calif., averaged 6.5 points while starting 20 games this season for the Wildcats. He shot 38.6% overall and had a season-high 14 points against Tennessee on Feb. 6.
He put his name into the NCAA transfer portal earlier this month and said he was “excited to attend the University of Texas.”
“I chose Texas because coach Beard and his coaching staff are completely invested into their players and player development,” Askew told 247Sports. “They have also watched film on my game and see that my playing style and abilities will thrive in their program.”
All of these players will get plenty of facetime with Reilly, a key figure in Tech’s success the last five seasons. With Reilly arriving, Andrea Hudy is likely moving on from UT. It was considered a coup when Texas landed Hudy, the strength coach behind Kansas’ unprecedented Big 12 men’s basketball success.
“John is a special person. Players come to Texas to be the best,” Beard said in a statement. “John embraces and thrives on these expectations. Players love and respect him.”