, Texas (PressExposure) May 06, 2009 -- In the state of Texas, football is definitely king, however in recent years the basketball program at the University of Texas has started to become known for their highly successful basketball program. Under the leadership of Rick Barnes has been able to bring in some of the most high profile players from around the country. These players include T.J Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, and D.J Augustin. All of these players became 1st round lottery picks in the NBA and they established their careers playing their college basketball at Texas under Rick Barnes.
The first player to really become a huge star playing at Texas won point guard T.J Ford. Even though Ford only played with Texas for two years, he is arguably the best player to ever wear burnt orange in the program's history. Ford made an immediate impact in his freshman year; he led the team in steals, assists and minutes played. In fact, he became the first freshman to ever lead the nation in assists averaged per game. He also led his team to the Sweet Sixteen and was a unanimous selection for Big 12 Freshman of the year. In the following season, Ford improved on his play and led his team to the final four for the first time since 1947. Along the way, he led his team in points, assists, and steals and garnered first-team All-American honors. He also won numerous awards for his play during the season including the prestigious Naismith and Wooden awards for national player of the year. He was also awarded national player of the year by ESPN, The Sporting News and Sports Illustrated. Ford left after his sophomore season and went to the NBA where he was taken with the 8th pick in the draft.
The next big time player to come through the Texas program was power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. He signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Texas, however many thought that he would go to the NBA straight from high school. He shocked many experts when he withdrew his name from the NBA draft and decided to go to college. While in college he enjoyed two great seasons garnering many conference awards including making the all-conference team twice and also winning the Big 12 defensive player of the year in his final season. He would be taken 2nd in the NBA Draft, making him the highest pick ever taken from Texas in the NBA draft.
In the 2007 season, two players that were highly touted came to Texas in the same season and these were players forward Kevin Durant and point guard D.J Augustin. Durant was the more accomplished of the two and would have been able to go to the NBA straight from high school; however the NBA established a rule that all players must be one year removed from high school graduation to be eligible for the NBA draft. Durant proved why he was considered an NBA talent by dominating the college basketball landscape. For the season, he averaged almost 26 points a game, to go along with 11 rebounds a game. During his only season with Texas he had twenty 30-point games, which is the most for any Texas player in history. He also became the first freshman to win the Naismith and Wooden awards for national player of the year since the awards were established. Following the season, he left for the NBA and was taken with the 2nd pick in the draft. Not to be outdone, his teammate Augustin also enjoyed a great career with Texas, however it only last two seasons. Augustin was not as flashy as Durant however he was considered the glue that held the team together, with not only his scoring but his ability to move the ball and run the offense. In Augustin's final season, he was awarded with the Bob Cousy award for the nation's top point guard and left for the NBA where he was taken with the 9th pick.