Andrew Jones makes debut on Missouri men's basketball team

Saturday, December 10, 2011 | 10:42 p.m. CST; updated 7:19 a.m. CST, Monday, December 12, 2011

COLUMBIA — Andrew Jones made his second debut as a Tiger, this time on the basketball court. 

The senior Missouri football player began practicing with the Missouri men's basketball team 10 days ago. He will play his last game as a tight end for the Tigers in the Independence Bowl later this month, but on Saturday he was a forward on Norm Stewart Court at Mizzou Arena.

He sat on the bench Saturday in the Tigers' game against Navy, and in the final minutes tore off his warmups and checked in at the scorer's table. The crowd roared.

In his one minute of playing time, Jones committed one personal foul. 

Missouri coach Frank Haith said Jones is "my kind of guy."

"A guy that’s got a football mentality on the basketball court," Haith said. "I love those guys."

Haith said he appreciates Jones' physical toughness and strength, something that will be useful when Missouri starts Big 12 Conference play. 

"He brings aggressiveness to this team," Haith said. "He isn't afraid."

In practice, Jones has provided a strong challenge for senior Ricardo Ratliffe, the team's lone forward in the starting lineup.

"Not basketball strong, just natural physicality," Ratliffe said. "He's real aggressive. He's got basketball skills, but he still contemplates football. When the time comes, he's going to get back adjusted to basketball."

Jones hasn't played competitively since high school and is still trying to regain his basketball skills, but he said the team's playbook isn't worrying him too much.

"He knows the game," Haith said. "He said, 'I’m rainmanning this thing out, I’m learning everything I can learn.'"

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