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.