Texas basketball prospects in 2021 NBA Draft

Jackson Conner, Sports Reporter

Just over four months after helping the Texas basketball program earn its first Big 12 Postseason Tournament championship, four former Longhorns are anxiously waiting to hear their names called during the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29.

Texas has not seen three alumni drafted in the same class since 2011, but Greg Brown, Matt Coleman, Kai Jones and Jericho Sims give the Longhorns a great chance to either match or eclipse that mark. While not all of them are projected to hear their name called during the draft on July 29, they will all end up with a team in some shape or form over the summer.

Jack Myer

Kai Jones – Projected mid-first round selection

The last four first-round selections hailing from Texas have been front court players, and the 6-foot-11-inch Kai Jones is going to continue that trend in 2021.

Today’s NBA teams are always looking to add long and athletic big men who can space the floor and cover multiple positions on defense, and Jones checks all those boxes. With a 7-foot-1-inch wingspan and relentless motor running the length of the floor, Jones can block shots in the paint and switch onto a guard in the pick and roll. He is also a capable shooter who posted a 38% 3-point percentage last season.

Jones is a high-ceiling prospect who needs a few seasons of development in the NBA before he can truly be judged. He was not a regular starter at Texas and only averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore. That’s why Jones has been mocked to teams like the Charlotte Hornets at pick 11 and the Oklahoma City Thunder at pick 18 that are a few years away from their competitive window.

Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Greg Brown – Projected second round selection

The Austin, Texas product walked onto the Forty Acres as a surefire one-and-done prospect and likely lottery pick, but his draft stock took a tumble after an inconsistent freshman campaign.

Some mock drafters, such as Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, believe that NBA teams will fall in love with Greg Brown’s limitless athletic potential and take a shot on him at the end of the first round. Other mock drafters, such as Sam Vecenie of the Athletic, predict he will last into the second round as teams hesitate to pick up a prospect who only averaged 9.3 points per game in his lone college season.

CBS Sports’ NBA Draft prospect big board has him pegged as the No. 40-ranked player, a healthy medium and around the slot he will likely land come draft night.

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Courtesy of Texas Athletics

Jericho Sims – Projected late second round selection/undrafted free agent

Sims’ 44.5-inch vertical leap, which tied for the second-best mark in NBA Combine history, and strong on-court performance in the pre-draft event opened the eyes of some NBA scouts.

The forward offers a coveted skill set to an NBA team as an athletic big that can guard all five spots on the floor and finish above the rim on offense. Even if he does not get drafted, he will get picked up by a team as a free agent and have the opportunity to compete for a spot on an NBA roster.

Matt Coleman – Projected undrafted free agent

The longtime Texas point guard was the No. 83-ranked overall prospect on the CBS Sports Big Board, which means he is on the outside looking in when it comes to getting selected in the NBA Draft. Coleman should also be in a position to compete for a spot on an NBA roster whether or not he is drafted, though.

The crafty guard is one of the most experienced players in this draft after starting 128 games over four years for the Longhorns. Coleman has been doing private workouts for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers and is still very much in play to sneak into the second round.