Hooked 'Horns

The University of Texas basketball team will have revenge on its mind when it visits Thompson-Boling Arena next winter … but it won't have LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker or Daniel Gibson on it roster.

Tennessee stunned the heavily favored Longhorns 95-78 last December in Austin, giving Texas plenty of motivation for this year's rematch in Knoxville. Vengeance will be a lot tougher to achieve, however, now that Aldridge (a 6-11 center), Tucker, (a 6-5 forward) and Gibson, (a 6-2 point guard), have elected to forgo their last two years of collegiate eligibility in favor of the upcoming National Basketball Association Draft.

Gibson has not yet hired an agent, so he could change his mind and return for the 2006-07 college season.

Four more 2006-07 Vol opponents also will be weakened by early defections to the NBA. Memphis is losing sophomore point guard Darius Washington and freshman forward Shawne Williams to the pros, in addition to senior forward Rodney Carney. LSU is about to lose sensational freshman forward Tyrus Thomas. Kentucky is saying goodbye to sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo. Arkansas is bidding adieu to junior guard Ronnie Brewer.

All of the players mentioned above will be drafted, based on rankings compiled by Tony Mejia of CBS.sportsline.com.

In fact, Mejia ranks Aldridge the No. 1 center prospect and Thomas the No. 1 power forward prospect. He rates Brewer No. 2 among shooting guards.

Carney and Williams are listed 3-4 at small forward with Tucker No. 6.

Mejia ranks Rondo No. 5, Washington No. 7 and Gibson No. 10 among point guard prospects. UT senior C.J. Watson is not mentioned, even in a category called "Best of the Rest."

Three underclass members of Florida's national championship team – center Joakim Noah, forward Al Horford and wing Corey Brewer – have been projected as first-round NBA Draft picks but all say they're planning to play another season of college ball.

Mejia's NBA Draft projections, with commentary, may be viewed by going to CBS.sportsline.com, then clicking on the link called "NBA Draft: Mejia ranks the top prospects at each position."


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