Ke’Andre Jones finishes high school career with plenty left to play for
Published 7:46 am Monday, March 20, 2023
Ke’Andre Jones finished his final high school basketball season when the buzzer sounded March 3 in the Titans’ 4th round playoff loss to the Ellison Eagles.
He was prepared for the emotions.
“I already accepted that it was ending when we had senior night,” Jones recently shared with Port Arthur Newsmedia. “I realized it was my last time playing at home with all the fans.”
Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, however. Before Jones was a state champion high jumper and star shooting guard, he was just a kid trying to get his sea legs on the basketball court.
In fact, he didn’t quite recognize the magnitude of what his athletic ability could become until middle school during a basketball tournament.
“It might sound weird, but one game in a tournament somebody threw a pass way high in the air, and when I jumped up and got it, I noticed I took a long time to come down,” he said. “That’s when I knew I had some type of athleticism.”
It wasn’t until high school that he truly showed out, starting with varsity basketball as a sophomore and varsity track as a junior. Although he didn’t make varsity track at first, a growth spurt before his junior year helped him become a star high jumper and long jumper.
So, as time progressed and Jones’ skills grew, so did his leadership.
“I started to see myself as a key component in the team’s success at the end of my junior year,” he said. “I knew that (this) season would be my last year, so I turned up the intensity from the first game.”
That drive led Memorial basketball to a district championship, a feat that had eluded the team for the past two seasons.
But Jones’ journey wasn’t without its setbacks.
A mid-season ankle injury kept him out of three games, beginning a Titans losing streak.
However, Jones saw the experience as an opportunity for growth.
“It was all getting us prepared for different teams and how they play, because in the playoffs, you never know what you’re going to go against,” he said.
That preparation paid off in the postseason. Jones and his teammates were locked in and ready to take with whoever stood in their way.
“We just took it game-by-game and tried to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said.
That mindset carried the Titans to a fourth round clash against the Ellison Eagles of Killeen.
Per usual, Jones was mentally prepared.
“I couldn’t let my teammates know if I was nervous because I get them going,” he said. “If I’m not getting them going, then our point guard, Maurion, is going to get us going in some type of way.”
And go they did. Jones and his teammates fought hard but ultimately fell short.
As for the future, Jones has a few options on the table. He has colleges looking at him for basketball and track, but he’s not quite ready to make a decision or drop any names.
“I want to pursue both sports,” said Jones, “but I’m getting recruited for them separately, and I don’t know which one I want to go to college for if I had to make a decision right now.”
Until then, he offered some advice for the players coming behind him to fill the vacant leadership roles on the court.
“Listen to the coaches even if you think they might be wrong, because down the line, it’s gonna pay off,” he said.
— Written by Clayton Eaves