Texas trio latest batch of impressive pro talent

Sara Beth Purdy

Tonight, three Longhorns will be watching for their name in the 2011 NBA Draft. Tristan Thompson, Cory Joseph and Jordan Hamilton have all chosen to forgo the rest of their eligibility at Texas.

Last year, the Longhorns sent three players to the NBA in the 2010 draft.

The first to go last year, Avery Bradley, was selected 19th overall by the Boston Celtics. After spending some time in the developmental league, Bradley was called up to the Celtics in February following Marquis Daniel’s spinal cord injury. Bradley played in 31 games last season for the Celtics and shot 34 percent from the floor.

The Atlanta Hawks selected Damion James with the 24th overall pick last year. His stay with the Hawks was short-lived, however, when James was traded to the New Jersey Nets for more draft picks. James has played in 25 games for the Nets, averaging 44.7 percent from the floor and 64.3 percent from the foul line.

Dexter Pittman was the last Longhorn to go in the draft. He spent his first year in the pros alternating between the bench and the developmental league. In April, Pittman played in two games for the Heat before sustaining an injury. He went in the second round as the number two pick.

Texas’ participation in the draft has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. Since 1957, the Longhorns have sent 37 players to the draft with 22 going in the first two rounds. Over half of those 37 were in the last two decades.
Before 1990, the Longhorns sent one player to the draft every couple of years, but since then, Rick Barnes has sent 13 players to the draft. In the 12 years Barnes has been at Texas, he has sent more players than any other previous Texas coach. In the past few years, Texas has sent more high profile players to the draft, such as T.J. Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant.