Will next season be Kentavious-Caldwell Pope’s last at UGA?

Kentavious-Caldwell Pope turned in a fine freshman campaign for Coach Mark Fox and the Georgia Bulldogs, averaging 13.2 points to go along with a team-leading 5.2 rebounds per game.  KCP also led the Dawgs in steals with 58 on the season, finishing second in the SEC in that statistical category during conference play (at 2 steals per contest).

Pope’s efforts caught the eyes of both the media as well as opposing SEC coaches, earning him a spot on the conference’s All Freshman team.

Apparently, folks in the professional ranks have taken note of KCP’s talents as well.  NBADraft.net has Pope listed as the No. 9 pick in their latest 2013 Mock Draft.

If KCP were to take the leap to the NBA after next season, he would be the first Bulldog to exit the UGA basketball program for the pros after just two seasons of play since Jumaine Jones did it back in 1999.  

The “Thrilla from Camilla” made the jump to the NBA after a stellar sophomore season in which Jones netted 18.8 points and 9.5 boards per game en route to being named First-Team All-SEC.  Jones was selected in the first round with the 27th pick by the Atlanta Hawks before being immediately traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

As much as I would love to see KCP in the Red and Black for at least two more seasons, if he is still projected to be an NBA lottery pick this time next year he may make a decision similar to Jumaine Jones’.

Bulldogs in 2011 NBA Draft

jarvis hayes
Not since Jarvis Hayes was the the 10th pick overall in the 2003 NBA Draft has Georgia had a player leave early for the NBA

This morning I found myself perusing the NBA Draft website, which allows users to look at the NBA’s “Mock” drafts for 2010 and 2011 (basically how they anticipate the draft going based on the information that the NBA draft experts have right now).

What I saw on the link for the 2011 Mock NBA Draft was amazing!  The site currently lists Travis Leslie as being the 12th pick in the draft, and Howard “Trey” Thompkins going 19th.

This is great news for these two young players, but to Georgia basketball fans it could mean that these guys will only be with the Dawgs for one more year.

With the addition of junior guard Gerald Robinson, Jr next season, and the added maturity that Thompkins, Leslie, Dustin Ware and Jeremy Price will gain over the summer, it is safe to say that the Dawgs should be contenders in the SEC next year (and quite possibly potential dancers in next year’s NCAA Tourney).

Hopefully Coach Mark Fox will be able to take advantage of his talented roster next year, because he could lose a couple of juniors to the NBA after the season…something that hasn’t been an issue for a UGA basketball coach in quite some time.

Utah Jazz sign Sundiata Gaines to 10-day contract

I just finished watching ESPN’s Sportscenter for the third time today…I just can’t seem to get enough of the show’s opening clip which features Travis Leslie catching an alley-oop pass from Trey Thompkins and then flushing it on Georgia Tech’s D’Andre Bell.

The Columbia High School alum’s fantastic dunk also appeared on the “Top Plays” segment.

Anywho, I am digressing…

Sundiata Gaines was signed by the Utah Jazz to a 10-day contract pending a physical.  Read all about it here on the Utah Jazz home page.

Good luck to Sundiata in his first stint in the NBA.

Gaines Leading NBA Development League in Scoring

Sundiata GainesFormer University of Georgia standout PG Sundiata Gaines is currently playing in the NBA’s Development League (D-League) for the Idaho Stampede (who are affiliated with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets)…and at the moment, he sits atop of the scoring leaders with a stellar 27.0 ppg average!  But Gaines isn’t only scoring, he is also averaging 8.3 assists a game and 4.3 rebounds.  Sundiata already has one double-double under his belt in this young season, and it’s safe to say that he is clearly establishing himself as the “Lebron James” of the D-League.

This is Gaines’s first year playing in the D-League.  He spent the 2008-2009 basketball season playing in Italy for a team called NGC Cantu.  Him choosing to live in Boise, Idaho instead of Italy (beautiful landscape, amazing food culture, wine, etc) can only mean one thing – this guy must believe he has a real chance to earn a spot on an NBA roster (or he loves potatoes and all potato products).

Currently, there are only two former UGA players in the NBA – Damien Wilkins is on the Oklahoma City Thunder and Jarvis Hayes plays for the New Jersey Nets.

Hopefully there will be a third former Bulldog entering the NBA ranks before the season ends.

Will History Repeat Itself?

1983 UGA Men's Final Four Team

The year was 1983…

A great year for movies…Ralphie shot his eye out in “A Christmas Story“, Al Pacino became a gangster icon in “Scarface” & Tom Cruise dazzled us in his tighty-whities in “Risky Business“.

The music released that year was unbelievable, with hit songs like “Come On Eileen“, “Little Red Corvette“, “Owner of a Lonely Heart” & “Mr. Roboto“.

Many people were still just getting used to their stone-washed jeans, big hair, ray-ban sunglasses and a nightlife that didn’t include disco.

The University of Georgia’s basketball team, however, was en route to the best finish in school history, finishing the season 24-10 and reaching the Final Four of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  The Dawgs were led by All-American guard Vern Fleming, All-SEC Center Terry Fair  and coached by UGA icon Hugh Durham.

In the Sweet Sixteen round of the tournament, Georgia was slated to play St. John’s University (a basketball powerhouse at the time).  St. John’s was the #1 seed in the East Region and a heavy favorite to win the tournament.  The Johnnies  were led by Big East Player of the Year & NBA Hall of Famer, Chris Mullin.

Terry Fair put on a sensational performance scoring 27 points and nabbing 9 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes of the game, leading the Dawgs to a 70-67 upset of the Red Storm.  UGA went on to win two more games before losing a heart-breaker to NC State in the Final Four round of the tournament.

Tomorrow night the 2009 versions of the Bulldogs and Red Storm will meet again in Madison Square Garden as part of the SEC/Big East Challenge.  The game be shown on ESPN2 in the 7PM Prime Time slot.

Hopefully history repeats itself…

Was anyone reading the blog at the UGA/St. John’s game in 1983? Or watching on TV?  I was only 3+ years old at the time so I didn’t get to watch it myself, but I would love to hear any comments about the game from someone who saw it live.