IRVING, Texas – Andrew Jones (Texas basketball) and Jaci Jones (Oklahoma State soccer) have been selected as the 2019-20 Big 12 Sportspersons of the Year, the Conference announced.
The Sportsperson of the Year Awards began in 2000-01 to annually recognize student-athletes who displayed an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship, community service and academic achievement. This year’s winners were selected by a media panel.
Andrew was diagnosed with leukemia in January 2018 and survived the diagnosis with a successful treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. “AJ1” (a moniker symbolizing Andrew’s fight in his recovery and progression forward) took to social media in the early stages of his recovery to inform fans of his progress and to inspire others going through similar battles (regardless of age and situation).
Jones re-joined the Texas basketball team for the 2018-19 season, but played in only two games, as he continued his chemo treatments throughout the year, completing his final treatment in September 2019. Jones actually completed his final two 28-day treatment cycles in Austin, one in June during summer classes/workouts and one as fall classes began (late August through Sept. 19, 2019) – during which time he would have a PICC line in his arm and a chemo bag strapped around his waist.
In Jones’ return to the court this season, he registered a then-career high in scoring with 20 points on 8-of-13 FG, including 4-of-5 from three-point range in the season-opening win over Northern Colorado. He played 29 minutes, marking his first extended action since he played 30 minutes at VCU on Dec. 5, 2017.
Jones earned All-Big 12 honorable mention accolades during the 2019-20 season, as he ranked second on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg) and third in assists (1.9 apg) and steals (23) in 26.6 minutes per contest, while hitting 38.3-percent (62-162) from three-point range. He played in all 31 games (11 starts) and reached double figures in scoring 15 times this year, including a team-best six 20-point efforts. He was a major catalyst to UT’s five-game win streak at the close of the regular season, averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game, while hitting 15-of-32 (.469) threes in 34.9 minutes per contest down the stretch.
As he continues forward, Jones has ambitions of creating his own foundation in the fight against pediatric leukemia and is interested in networking with Jimmy V staff to see what opportunities may exist following graduation in helping spread awareness and raise funds for research and treatment.
Andrew was a featured speaker at MD Anderson Cancer Center in summer 2019, providing inspiration to young adult patients and family members, while also sending gratitude to caregivers and health professionals. Additionally, he volunteered as a speaker at the Stuttering Institute Summer Camp in Austin, encouraging growth and chasing dreams to the kids in attendance. Jones also has periodically participated in team activities with the Neighborhood Longhorns program and Coach Smart’s ‘Shop with the Horns’ event. Andrew is pursuing a degree in physical culture & sports and is on track to graduate.
Jaci was a three-year captain for Oklahoma State and an exemplary student-athlete on and off the field. During the 2019 Big 12 Championship, Jones developed a special bond with a former Cowgirl soccer player’s daughter, who had lost her father. Jones and the Cowgirls team stepped in by providing autographed jerseys and giving the young girl and her teammates a VIP experience at the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City.
Jones has volunteered for nearly 20 events during her tenure at Oklahoma State including participating in the Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine, Coaches vs. Cancer, Stillwater Soccer Club, Sangre Ridge Elementary School clean-up, Payne County United Way, Stillwater Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Feed the Children, Thanksgiving Food Drive, Cleats 4 Kids, Angel Tree and the N7 Youth Movement Field Day.
Jones also served as the OSU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President, Vice President and Community Service Chair. She was the co-director of the Cowboy Choice Awards and was the Vice President of Love Through Loss.
Additionally, Jones served as a guest speaker for numerous organizations including Mustang Public Schools, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Celtic Youth Soccer Club, Newcastle Middle School, St. Louis Youth Soccer Club and the Apex Goalkeeper Institute.
Jones led the Cowgirls with 26 points on seven goals, while her 12 assists led the Big 12 and ranked 10th nationally. She guided OSU to a 2019 regular-season Big 12 title, while garnering All-Big 12 Second Team honors. Jones also earned All-Midwest Region Third Team honors from the United Soccer Coaches. Academically, she is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team performer and is majoring in nutritional sciences with a focus in dietetics.