Ex Longhorn Cory Joseph Reflects on NBA Draft Process & Time with Spurs

The Texas Longhorns are unlikely to pick a player in this year’s NBA draft, despite picking three former players last time out.

In fact, the last nine Longhorns drafted since 2011 have been 6-7 or greater, proving Texas’ résumé of building quality front-court players.

But the last guard to hear his name didn’t have to be far from Austin after he was ranked No. 29 overall in 2011 when the San Antonio Spurs picked him.

He spoke to Jefe Island, a multimedia hoops platform that has conducted numerous interviews with current and former NBA players, about what the process was like to get there and how arriving in San Antonio changed his career.

“I got drafted by the Spurs, which was the best situation for me and my career,” Joseph said. “I am grateful every day that I was drafted by them.”

The Toronto native spent a year in Austin with the Texas Longhorns before being drafted when he was 20. Even at such a young age, coach Gregg Popovich and the front office didn’t provide Joseph with the usual exciting draft call that most first-round picks get. Classic move from an organization that has always carried on as usual.

“San Antonio, man,” Joseph said. “They are a great organization, everyone knows that. They’re funny though, because I didn’t even know I was being drafted from San Antonio until I saw my name. Usually you get the call beforehand… but I didn’t even get the call. David Stern came out and said my name.”

He was the third Longhorn picked that draft, as Tristan Thompson went to the Cavaliers in fourth-ranked pick while Jordan Hamilton went off the board three picks ahead of Joseph to the Mavs before being dealt to the Nuggets on draft night .

Joseph knew his pre-design projections were everywhere. He considered staying in Austin for another year, with the future uncertain and a lottery selection in the offseason that followed. It’s safe to say that his one-and-done route worked for him.

“I had a wide range,” Joseph said. “My range was from 20 to 40. I was really thinking about maybe coming back or not. I felt like maybe next year I could have been in the lottery. But the opportunity was there and it worked out.”

Back then, once a player put their name in the draft pool, there was no going back. Joseph bet on himself.

“When I was in NBA practice, at that time you couldn’t reset your name, you couldn’t go back to college. Once you entered your name, you were done. This permission was gone. I trained for something like 28 teams, I was in a serious loop.”

Joseph started in all 36 games for the Longhorns and averaged team-high minutes (32.4), assists (3.0), steals (1.0), and 3-point percentage (41 percent). He averaged 10.4 points at 42 percent from the floor.

After winning a ring in 2014, Joseph spent one more season with the Spurs before signing with his hometown Toronto Raptors in the 2015 offseason. In his sophomore year with the team, he averaged a career-high 9.3 points before being traded to the Indiana Pacers. He’s now had stints with the Sacramento Kings and Pistons as he tries to find a permanent home with a rebuilding Detroit team.

You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7

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