A&M’s Middleton pegged No. 9 for 2012 NBA lottery

It’s never to early to indulge in a little early draft speculation — even if it’s before school has started for the fall semester and top freshman players have even started their fall semesters at their new colleges.

Hoops Hype.com has its for the 2012 draft. And while the Big 12 remains together, it looks like another banner season for Texas-based teams with two Baylor players and a Texas AM player pegged in the top half of the first round.

AM junior forwardis ranked the highest of any player from a Texas school at No. 9. Baylor small forwards and are listed at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.

Hoops Hype compares the draftees to current NBA players as part of their preview. Middleton is said to be similar to Michael Redd. Miller is likened to Rashard Lewis and Jones to Anthony Randolph.

Heralded Texas freshman guard Myck  Kabongo, who has yet to play a college game, is considered the No. 18 player in the draft and compared to Rajon Rondo.

The upcoming draft is considered to be much stronger than last season’s draft, mainly because several top players decided to return to college for another year of seasoning amid the uncertainty of the looming NBA lockout.

Those draft questions helped explain the return to college of North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes, Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger and Connecticut’s Jeremy Lamb. All are projected among the top eight picks in the draft.   

The potential teams are pegged in order of their 2011 draft order. The Spurs with the No. 29 pick were linked with USC center DeWayne Dedmon.

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