NBA Waiting Game Begins For Ford

At some point Thursday night, former Texas basketball star <B>T.J. Ford </B>will become Texas&#146; latest millionaire. The only question is in what city should the standout point guard build his cement pond?

Most hoops pundits project Ford’s name will be called somewhere between the sixth and tenth selection during Thursday night's NBA Draft at New York City's Madison Square Garden. That would send Ford either to Los Angeles (Clippers), Chicago, Milwaukee, New York or Washington. ESPN will provide national coverage of the entire draft beginning at 6 p.m. Central.

The All-American was in Dallas Monday at the 38th annual Dallas All-Sports Association All-Star Awards banquet to pick up another trophy. Ford was honored as the Big 12 Conference Male Athlete of the Year, while head men's basketball coach Rick Barnes was recognized as the Big 12 Coach of the Year. Also, women's basketball coach Jody Conradt received the Field Scovell Award, presented to a person for superior performance on the regional sports scene.

Ford was the 2003 Naismith and Wooden Award winner as college basketball's National Player of the Year and guided the Longhorns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947. The third player in school history to earn consensus first-team All-America honors, Ford led the team in scoring (15.0 ppg), assists (7.7 apg), steals (2.0 spg), free throw percentage (.820) and minutes played (33.6 mpg) during the 2002-03 season. He recorded nine double-digit assist performances this past season and ranks second on UT's all-time career assists list (527).

Three UT players have been drafted in the last four years, including Kris Clack (1999, 55th overall pick by Boston), Chris Mihm (2000, seventh overall pick by Chicago then traded to Cleveland) and Chris Owens (2002, 48th overall pick by Milwaukee then traded to Memphis).

Texas has had a total of 28 former players selected in the NBA Draft since the draft began in 1947. Five of those players were first-round selections. LaSalle Thompson holds the distinction of being the highest draft pick in UT history. Thompson was the fifth overall pick by the Kansas City Kings in the 1982 NBA Draft.

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