AUSTIN, Texas — A trio of University of Texas basketball players have declared themselves eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft, the school announced Friday. Sophomore swingman Jordan Hamilton plans to begin the process of hiring an agent and will forego his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility. Freshman forward/center Tristan Thompson and freshman guard Cory Joseph will submit their names into the draft but not hire an agent.
Hamilton was one of 10 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, an honor given by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) to the National Player of the Year. He also earned second-team All-America honors from the USBWA and the NABC and third-team All-America accolades from The Associated Press. Hamilton led the team in scoring (18.6 ppg) and ranked second on the squad in rebounding (7.7 rpg), double-doubles (eight) and minutes played (32.2 mpg). He topped the 20-point mark in 15 of UT’s 36 games. Hamilton finishes his two-year career ranked 31st in school history in scoring with 1,012 points in 70 career games (14.5 ppg).
“I want to thank everyone at The University of Texas, especially the fans, for all of their support over the last two years,” Hamilton said. “I have really grown as a person. My family and I really took our time with this decision and waited to get a good feel of what this year’s draft class would look like and where I can be drafted. With all the information we received, it is best for me to move forward now and pursue this opportunity. I will finish my spring semester classes and will always be a Longhorn.”
Thompson was one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, an honor given by the USBWA to the National Freshman of the Year. The Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, Thompson also earned first-team NABC All-District 8 and USBWA All-District VII honors. He led the team in rebounding (7.8 rpg), blocked shots (86), double-doubles (10) and field goal percentage (.546) and ranked second in scoring (13.1 ppg).
“This was a difficult decision, but it was the best decision for myself and my family,” Thompson said. “I will continue to go to class and complete the spring semester here at Texas. I will continue to gather all the information about my draft status and use that information over the next two weeks to determine whether or not to keep my name in the draft.”
Joseph was named to the USBWA Freshman All-America Second Team, All-Big 12 honorable mention and the Big 12 All-Rookie Team. He led the team in assists (3.0 apg), steals (37), three-point field goal percentage (.413, 52-of-126) and minutes played (32.4 mpg) and ranked fourth in rebounding (3.6 rpg) and tied for fourth in scoring (10.4 ppg).
“I want to use this two-week period of time to get a better feel of what my draft status would be this year,” Joseph said. “I will finish my classes here, hopefully go through some workouts for NBA teams and personnel and use feedback from those workouts to make the best decision.”
The 2011 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 23 at The Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.