|Augustin, Chalmers and two from Memphis declare for draft|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 23 April 2008 14:34|
Augustin, who won the Bob Cousy Award as college basketball's top point guard, averaged 19.2 points and 5.8 assists as a sophomore and is widely considered a first-round pick.
``I have dreamed of playing in the NBA since I was a little boy, and I am ready to start living this dream,'' Augustin said.
Augustin joins an impressive lineup of former Longhorns who departed early for the NBA in recent years: T.J. Ford, Daniel Gibson, LaMarcus Aldridge, P.J. Tucker and Kevin Durant all have bolted since 2003, depleting the program of its most talented players.
``We are so thankful for the opportunity to have been around an individual like D.J. for the last two years,'' Texas coach Rick Barnes said. ``As good as he is on the basketball court, D.J. is an even better person off the court.''
Anderson and Dozier joined freshman Derrick Rose and junior Chris Douglas-Roberts as the Tigers' early entries along with senior center Joey Dorsey - possibly leaving Memphis without any returning starters next season.
With a deep pool of underclassmen entering the draft, Anderson and Dozier are unlikely to get drafted with their teammates, though Memphis coach John Calipari says the two will be able to work out for NBA teams, participate in predraft camp and get feedback from scouts.
``Both Antonio and Robert approached me about putting their names in the NBA draft, and I support them in their decision,'' Calipari said in a statement. ``This is good for them because they can work out for teams and see where they stand and find out about their strengths and weaknesses.''
With Augustin declaring, four of the five All-Americans have entered the draft. North Carolina junior Tyler Hansbrough still hasn't announced his decision.
None of the players have hired an agent, leaving themselves the option to withdraw by June 16 for the June 26 draft.
Augustin is projected as a first-round pick, but Rose, who outplayed Augustin in the regional final in Houston, is considered the top point guard available.
Abrams, a 5-foot-11 junior, averaged 16.5 points and led Texas in 3-pointers with 118 last season.
``Right now, I have the opportunity to test the waters to see where I stand,'' Abrams said. ``If I'm comfortable with where I feel I'll be drafted, I'll stay in the draft. If not, I'll be back for my senior year.''
Chalmers, who hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to send the national championship game into overtime before the Jayhawks went beat Memphis 75-68 for their third national title, said he'll come out only if it looks like he'll be picked in the first round. If not - he's currently projected to go between pick Nos. 25-35 - the junior will return for his senior season.
``I looked at the pros and cons of all three options and I don't think hiring an agent right now would be the best fit for me right now personally just because I'm not projected that high in the draft,'' Chalmers said. ``It's just great that I have the opportunity to come back if I can and the opportunity to go if I can. I think it's a win-win situation.''
Also, Danilo Gallinari, the leading scorer in the Italian basketball league, declared himself available for the draft. The 19-year-old is averaging 17.5 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point range for Armani Jeans Milano.
The 6-9 Gallinari is hoping to be a top 15 pick and the third Italian selected in three years. The Toronto Raptors took Andrea Bargnani with the top pick in 2006, and Marco Belinelli was chosen 18th by the Golden State Warriors last year.