Kentavious-Caldwell Pope leaving after two years at UGA for NBA Draft

ESPN DawgNation reporter David Ching broke the story this afternoon that Georgia sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will forgo his junior and senior seasons and enter this year’s NBA draft.

While I would love for KCP to stick around for at least one more year, it is hard to blame him for taking the jump – his stock has been on a steady rise since the end of the season, and he appears likely to be taken in the latter part of the first-round.

Losing KCP, last season’s SEC Player of the Year, will be a devastating blow to a Bulldog team that had a legitimate chance of making next year’s NCAA Tournament, assuming Pope’s services.

Without KCP though, Coach Mark Fox will be looking for additional scoring from Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris. The starting lineup will most likely be those three aforementioned players, Donte Williams, and then it’s really a matter of take your pick between Neme Djurisic, John Cannon, Tim Dixon or Marcus Thornton (should he return from his knee troubles).

Coach Fox has two freshman coming in next season – Juwan Parker and J.J. Frazier – and he also has an offer on the table to a 6’7″ three-star wing from Columbus, Georgia named Harold Givens.

Matching last season’s 9-9 conference record should be a formidable challenge for the Dawgs next year, and besting it nearly impossible without an incredible overall off-season improvement from the current roster.

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12 thoughts on “Kentavious-Caldwell Pope leaving after two years at UGA for NBA Draft

  1. Obviously a tough loss but the bigger story would have been had he chosen to stay. According to an ESPN story, Fox was quoted as saying that Marcus Thornton was granted a medical redshirt for this past season, which would mean that he has two years eligibility left (I think). If he ever gets wheels he can play on, we’ll be happy we have him. We are also obviously going to need more scoring from Gaines, Neme, Morris, and Juwan Parker to even match the prowess of last year’s team. I sure hope the little guard from S. Georgia is skilled enough to give Mann a blow at times. And it would be great if Fox could attract a skilled JUCO forward with KCP’s vacated scholarship. Lots has to go right for next year to be a post-season year, but it is not out of the question.

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  2. Ha! My skills at predictions are HIGHLY overrated! Good Luck Ken! Next year? Only going to be a good one if the skilled glimpses we see out of the remaining cast somehow become regular facets throughout the season. I don’t know if you fellas got the season ticket holder survey that went out, but it suggests that the University is somewhat worried about people abandoning the program.

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  3. I’m optimistic about Mann really becoming a force for UGA, much like Sundiata. He has a year of experience and learned a lot with increased playing time throughout the season. Hopefully in the offseason he gets a little stronger and works on his game. Mann really has a strength of getting to the free throw line, something we haven’t really seen since Gaines and Woodbury. Houston Kessler was a redshirt this year, I’m sure he needed to get stronger in the lower body. We will see what he has next season.

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  4. I do think that Mann may be a real star.

    If we could somehow bring in a bruising power forward from JUCO that would be huge.

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    1. The most glaring weakness last year was the inability of the bigs to make layups or to catch and score. With the freshmen being better-that may not be enough.Will the year to year improvement of the returning guys make up for the loss of KCP’s 18 pts per game? Remember, we counted on Nemi and Donte improving-they didn’t or regressed. And Fox expects Thornton back. That means a lot of minutes and no scoring. Hard to be optimistic that next year will be better.

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      1. Color me crazy maybe, but I believe that if Thornton’s rehabed knees permit nearly a full range of movement, he’ll score better than we’ve seen thus far. I don’t think that the man has been right physically since he enrolled at UGA. Anybody know much of anything about the new small forward Fox just signed?

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        1. ESPN has him as a 2-star, and he is not rated on Rivals or Scout. I watched some of his highlights – he is a 6’6″ wing who looks pretty thin, but he has some nice athleticism. His ESPN profile claimed he had some range as well.

          Geno’s only other offer listed at this point was from Florida Gulf Coast U – the team that just made that deep run into this year’s NCAA Tournament.

          He sounds like another project.

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          1. He has a number of videos on you tube. He can dunk, make 3’s and has a post up jumper. All against high school teams. His team won the state championship in their division. He seems to have some talent. What bothers me is that he was only recruited by small colleges. Remember, Brantley was brought in as a shooter. We know how that worked out.
            I hope that Thornton would return healthy. He must be talented to be Mr. Basketball in Ga. I have never seen it. He is a favorite of Fox’s and he played him many minutes even though he was not healthy. Wasn’t fair to Thornton. Let’s hope we are not in for a repeat performance.

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  5. I’ve heard that Forte ( the SF) is pretty darn strong and quite the scorer. If true, he seems to be exactly what we need (and he has 3 years of remaining eligibility). Chip Towers in the AJC is also reporting that Fox is to add a 3-point specialist from Switzerland who will be joining the team as a walk on next year. This guy has international experience and, as a walk on, can’t be much worse of a gamble than our recent 3-point specialist. To me, the roster looks quite a bit better than it did several days ago.

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