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April 23, 2008

Texas tandem declares for NBA Draft

AUSTIN, Texas D.J. Augustin is turning pro, and Texas teammate A.J. Abrams may be headed with him.

The Longhorns lost their All-America point guard Wednesday when Augustin announced he would skip his final two seasons at Texas and enter the NBA draft, where he is widely considered a 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, who averaged 19.2 points and 5.8 assists as a sophomore, has not hired an agent. That leaves him the option to change his mind before the June 26 draft, though there is no apparent indication that he would do so.

Abrams, a junior, also declared himself eligible Wednesday for the draft. The 5-foot-11 guard has also not hired an agent.

"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."

Augustin won the Bob Cousy Award as college basketball's top point guard. Abrams averaged 16.5 points a game and led Texas in 3-pointers with 118 last season.

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."

Augustin is projected as a first-round pick, but Memphis freshman Derrick Rose, who outplayed Augustin in the regional final in Houston, is considered the top point guard available.

Players who have declared for the NBA draft without an agent have until June 16 to remove their name and return to school.

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