The Texas Longhorns likely won’t select a player in this year’s NBA draft, despite having three former players selected last time around.
The fact that the last nine Longhorns drafted since 2011 are all 6-foot-7 or taller is a testament to Texas’ track record of developing high-quality players in the frontcourt.
But after being drafted 29th overall in 2011, the last guard to hear his name didn’t have to be far from Austin. Former Texas linebacker Corey Joseph had to drive south on I-35 for an hour and a half. The San Antonio Spurs drafted him.
He spoke with Jeff Island, a multimedia basketball platform that has conducted multiple interviews with current and former NBA players, about what made it happen and how coming to San Antonio changed his career.
“I was drafted by the Spurs, and it was the best-case scenario for me and my career,” Joseph said. “I’m grateful every day that I was chosen by them.”
The Toronto native spent a year in Austin for the Texas Longhorns before being drafted at age 20. Even at this young age, coach Gregg Popovich and front office didn’t give Joseph the usually exciting draft notice that most first-round picks have. A classic move from an organization that always keeps business as usual.
“San Antonio, man,” Joseph said. “They’re a great organization and everyone knows that. They’re fun though because I didn’t even know I was drafted by San Antonio until I saw my name. Usually, you get a call ahead of time… . But “I didn’t even get the call. David Stern came out and announced my name. “
He was the third Longhorn selected in the draft, as Tristan Thompson was selected by the Cavaliers with the No. 4 overall pick, while Jordan Hamilton was eliminated three picks before Joseph was selected by the Mavericks and then in the draft Night was traded to the Nuggets.
Joseph knew his predictions were all over the place before the draft. He’s considering spending another year in Austin with an uncertain future and could be a lottery pick in the upcoming offseason. It’s safe to say that his once-and-for-all route will work for him.
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“I have a wide range,” Joseph said. “I ranged from (choice) 20 all the way to 40. I was really thinking about maybe coming back or not. I felt like I might be in the lottery next year. But chances were given and it worked out.”
At the time, once a player entered their name into the draft pool, there was no going back. Joseph bet himself.
“When I tried out in the NBA, then you couldn’t change your name back, you couldn’t go back to college. Once you put your name in, you’re done. That qualification was done. I worked out 28 teams Team, I’m in serious form.”
Joseph started all 36 of the Longhorns’ games and averaged team-highs in minutes (32.4), assists (3.0), steals (1.0) and 3-point percentage (41 percent). He averaged 10.4 points on 42 percent shooting.
After winning a ring in 2014, Joseph spent another season with the Spurs before signing with his hometown Toronto Raptors in the 2015 offseason. He averaged a career-high 9.3 points in his second year with the Indiana Pacers before being traded to the Indiana Pacers. He has now worked with the Sacramento Kings and Pistons as he looks to find a permanent home in a rebuilding Detroit team.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @zackdemeter7
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