Sophomore DeAndre Jones is the starting point guard for the UCA men’s basketball team.
He was raised in Boise, Idaho, where his family still resides. His father played basketball at Northwest Nazarene University, a D-II school in Idaho, and his mom went to Boise State University. He has one older brother and one younger sister.
“Ever since I was born, my parents had me around sports, mainly basketball and football,” Jones said. “My dad introduced me [to basketball], and since he played, I wanted to do the same.”
Jones started playing basketball in the third grade when he joined the Hoop Dreams Idaho league. He also played for the Borah Lions, and played high school basketball for the Link Year Prep Lions.
“As I grew up, my love for the game just grew more and more,” Jones said.
Jones was recruited out of Link Year Prep. When he visited the UCA campus, he was pleased with what the school had to offer.
“I visited and really couldn’t find anything not to like, so I thought it would be a good fit,” Jones said.
The closest state to Arkansas Jones had ever been to prior to that visit was Kansas. He said the biggest difference he has noticed between Idaho and Arkansas is probably the accents.
“Everyone has an accent down here,” Jones said.
He also noted a difference in the landscapes.
“In Idaho, there’s lots of mountains and trees and things like that,” Jones said. “I don’t see as much here.”
Jones became a UCA Bear in 2017 and has become an important part of the team. When he isn’t sporting his 55 jersey, he is focusing on his communication studies.
“I didn’t come in [to college] with an exact idea of what to do, so after taking a few classes last year, I finally decided [that] I want to do communications because I think it will be very beneficial for me in the future,” Jones said.
“After I graduate, I hope to be able to continue playing basketball somewhere, but other than that, I’m pretty open, and we’ll see what I decide when that time comes.”
This year is Jones’ second season with the Bears. During the 2017-18 season, he started 19 out of 35 games and earned career highs of 15 points against Nicholls and 11 assists against Lamar. During the Lamar game, he logged a season high of 42 minutes of play.
Something interesting others might not know about Jones is he is obsessed with shoes.
“I’m a big shoe guy,” Jones said. “I love talking about classic shoes and retro sneakers, mainly Jordans and Nikes. Shoes are definitely important to me.”
Jones said seeing the shoe game of sports stars inspired him to take an interest in shoes.
“Although Jordan’s playing days were winding down when I was a kid, the legacy of his shoes was still very popular,” Jones said.
However, Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets was Jones’ favorite NBA player growing up.
“Every shoe he released, I owned because [they were] just so cool to me,” Jones said.