Longhorns Prepare for Draft

Three Longhorns should hear their names called tonight during the 2011 NBA Draft, starting at 6:30 central.

The first to go will likely be freshman Tristan Thompson, who was invited to the Green Room, the standing spot for prospects expected to go in the NBA Draft Lottery. Like many prospects, Thompson's stock is somewhat volatile and depends on where other players go in front of him. At least one mock draft — that of CNN/SI — has Thompson going with the No. 4 pick, a selection made possible if Enes Kanter goes No. 3 to Utah. Others have Thompson near the back end of the lottery.

Thompson started 34 of 36 games as a freshman in Austin, finishing as one of the five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which goes to the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association National Freshman of the Year. Thompson was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year. Thompson scored 13.1 points, grabbed 7.8 rebounds, blocked 86 shots, sot .546 from the field and had 10 double-doubles. All but the points figure was tops on the Longhorns, with his points-per-game ranking second.

Jordan Hamilton is another prospect with a wide range. He could go as early as No. 9, or as late as the late teens. Reports state that Hamilton was excellent in several workouts, but struggled when he went head-to-head with Kawhi Leonard of San Diego State, generally regarded as the top wing player in the draft.

Hamilton improved immeasurably as a sophomore, finishing his career with more than 1,000 points. He was named a USBWA and NABC second-team All-American, leading Texas in scoring with 18.6 points per game and finishing second in rebounding (7.7) and double-doubles (eight).

Cory Joseph's stock is considerably lower, with the talented guard pegged to get selected in the mid to late second round. One of the concerns in Joseph's game is that he will need to play the point at the next level, though he didn't play much point guard in college.

But that shouldn't diminish the stellar first season he had on the 40 Acres. Joseph led the Longhorns in assists (3.0 per game), steals (37) and three-point percentage (.413). He also scored 10.4 points per game, grabbed 3.6 rebounds per game and hit some clutch shots, like the game-winner against North Carolina.

If Texas has two first-rounders taken, it will mark the second consecutive year that the Longhorns have accomplished the feat.

In the last eight years, Texas has produced four top-10 picks, the second most of any school (to Connecticut, with five). Texas has also had seven first-round picks in the past 11 years, tied for fifth-best.

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