DJ Augustin’s play impresses Bobcats coach Larry Brown. Felton may play shooting guard to make room for DJ.

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Posted July 1st, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball, Draft, Feature

Damion JamesThe 2008 NBA Draft was only a few days ago but ESPN is already all over 2009. Draft expert Chad Ford has posted his top 100 draft prospects for 2009 and Texas forward [tag]Damion James[/tag] comes in at number 24.

Here are Ford’s thoughts on James:

James has a lot of fans among NBA scouts. They love his grittiness and how he’s improved his game over the past two seasons. He’s a potential late first-round pick in 2009.

Positives:
  • Super-tough, physical forward
  • Long arms, NBA body
  • Good athlete with some explosive leaping ability
  • Good offensive rebounder
  • Dramatically improved perimeter game
  • Some range on his long ball
Negatives:
  • A tweener?
  • Undersized to play his natural position at the 4
  • Still needs polish on the offensive end
  • Needs to improve ballhandling
Similarities: James Posey

Hard to argue with any of those statements, positive or negative. My expectations for Damion this season are incredibly high. He improved his outside shot and his overall game a great deal between his freshman and sophomore seasons and if he continues to improve he will shoot up lists like these. The Longhorns have had players drafted in the lottery in each of the last three NBA drafts and if he improves his ballhandling James will make it four.

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Posted June 26th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball, Draft, Feature

DJ Augustin selected by Charlotte BobcatsTexas point guard [tag]DJ Augustin[/tag] has been selected with the 9th pick in the first round by Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats. A couple picks higher than most mock drafts had DJ going so congrats to him on being selected and the big contract that’s going to be coming his way.

Charlotte was not expected to select a point guard, they currently have PG Raymond Felton starting who they drafted just three years ago in the top five picks. There were some rumors before the draft that the Portland Trailblazers were looking to move up to take Augustin and now there’s already rumors that the Bobcats took this pick with the intention of turning it around to complete a trade. Maybe Charlotte has a deal with Portland set up? That be great news for Texas fans for sure.

Congrats DJ and good luck with your NBA career. We’ll be watching and rooting for you.

Update: The Blazers just took Kansas guard Brandon Rush at #13. Rush is 100% a shooting guard, a position the Blazers already have the outstanding young Brandon Roy. Maybe send Rush to Charlotte for Augustin? Probably just wishful thinking.

Update 2: I was right about the Blazers picking Rush to trade him for a point guard, but it was with Indiana at #11 and not Charlotte. Charlotte is reportedly shopping Raymond Felton.

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TJ Ford traded for Jermaine ONeal

TJ Ford was traded for Jermaine ONeal

In the weeks leading up to tomorrow’s NBA draft the Indiana Pacers were one of the most likely destinations for Texas point guard [tag]DJ Augustin[/tag]. Now that’s not going happen thanks to another former Horn point guard. On the eve of the draft the Pacers have completed a deal to send Jermaine O’Neal to the Toronto Raptors for [tag]TJ Ford[/tag].

ESPN is reporting that the Pacers and the Raptors have agreed to a deal that would send O’Neal to Toronto in exchange for Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and the 17th pick in the draft. Due to Ford’s contract the deal cannot be officially completed until July 9th. Players will also have to pass physicals, not necessarily a given considering TJ’s history of neck problems.

A possible O’Neal/Ford swap has been in the news since Monday. Toronto had two excellent point guards and TJ has been rumored to be on the trading block for the last several weeks. The Pacers have been pursuing a point guard and wanted to get rid of O’Neal so the needs of the two teams match up well.

After being in Milwaukee and Toronto, Indiana still isn’t a marquee market but he’ll have a chance to get a fresh start in a place where he’ll be the sure #1 guy. Good luck to TJ with his new team.

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Portland trying to trade up to #10 with the intent to draft Texas point guard DJ Augustin. That would be awesome place for DJ to go.

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DJ Augustin gives Blazers another talking point. He probably won’t still be there at #13 but they’re reportedly very impressed.

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Posted June 16th, 2008 by Brian
Filed under: Basketball, Draft, Feature

After testing the NBA draft waters Longhorns guard [tag]AJ Abrams[/tag] has made the decision to return to Texas for his senior season. AJ made the announcement at a press conference today, the last day he could withdraw his name and retain his eligibility.

He had a few workouts with NBA teams but was not invited to the league’s pre-draft camp and it was clear he would not be drafted. Returning to Texas will allow AJ to get his degree while also improving his chances of playing professional basketball. He’s not going to be the team’s starting point guard but he’ll likely have more ball handling responsibilities and at least a chance to prove he’s more than just a spot up shooter.

Watch video of an excerpt from AJ’s press conference and comments from Kevin Durant and [tag]Rick Barnes[/tag] below:

Welcome back AJ.

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AJ Abrams works out for the Sacramento Kings. He has until Monday to pull his name out of the draft.

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Andy Katz says DJ Augustin looks likely for lottery. DJ had a great workout Saturday.

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Examining NBA prospects not pointless. As long as no bridges were burned there’s no harm in AJ Abrams testing the waters.

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