Jordan Hamilton, Tristan Thompson, and Cory Joseph Declare for NBA Draft
The book on the 2010-11 Texas Longhorns basketball team closed as a relatively sad one this year, and now, Head Coach Rick Barnes has a heck of lot of work to be done to keep the university at the top of its game on the hardwood. Tristan Thompson, Jordan Hamilton, and Cory Joseph have announced that they are going to declare for the NBA Draft.
The move doesn’t really come as that much of a surprise though, as these three underclassmen are all projected first round draft choices, and many think that both Thompson and Hamilton could be lottery picks. Of course, with Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger, and several others electing to stay in college for another season, there is certainly more intrigue to these youngsters coming out of school early so more of them can end up in the front end of the NBA Draft.
Hamilton was a fantastic scorer for his entire two year career in Austin, accounting for double digits worth of points per game in both seasons. In this past year, his sophomore campaign, he accounted for 18.6 points and 7.7 board per game. He had a double-double in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies, coming up with 19 points and 10 boards.
Thompson, the team’s second leading scorer from last season at 13.1 points per game, was also a great rebounder at 7.8 boards per game and a great shot blocker at 2.4 rejections per game. This is a man that is built in the mold of Ekpe Udoh from the Baylor Bears of two seasons ago. In two games in March Madness this season, Thompson blocked a total of 11 shots, but in the final game of his career against the Arizona Wildcats, he only scored three points and had just six rebounds.
Joseph is a lot more of a questionable man to enter the NBA Draft. The frosh did have a solid season, particularly in three point shooting for the Horns at 41.3 percent, but he probably isn’t as refined as some of the other guards coming out of this draft class. Joseph only had one game in his collegiate career with 20+ points scored, and in the NCAA Tournament, he only totaled 17 points in two games.
Four of the five starters from this Texas team have now either graduated or declared for the NBA Draft, and the only man left on next year’s team that averaged more than 4.1 points per game at the moment is J’Covan Brown. The Longhorns were once considered a shoe in for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but memories of being the first team to win a game in Allen Fieldhouse against the Kansas Jayhawks in 70 tries were quickly erased by bad play down the stretch. UT was relegated to a No. 4 seed in March Madness and was dismissed in a heartbreaking, buzzer beating loss to Arizona.
Hamilton is expected to sign with an agent, while Thompson is likely going to follow suit. There is still a lot of question as to whether Joseph will actually jump ship from the University of Texas or not. These three have until May 8th to withdraw their name from the NBA Draft, but if they sign an agent, they cannot return to school.
The only good news that Texas has from all of this is that it does have a very strong recruiting class for next year, led by forward, Jonathan Holmes, the No. 1 ranked power forward in the nation.