#1 has been #1 all year for the Dawgs, and now, he's been honored as the same by the SEC. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC Player of the Year today, while freshman PG Charles Mann was named to the All-Freshman team. KCP is the first Georgia player to ever win the award voted on by SEC coaches, which began in 1987. Dominique Wilkins also won an SEC Player of the Year award back in 1981, but that award was given out by the press (AP and UPI).
The Greenville native exploded in his second season in Athens, leading the Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points per game on the year, and raising it up to 18.4 in conference play. He also chipped in with, on average, 6.9 rebounds from the shooting guard spot, along with over 2 steals per. His complete line of 33.8 minutes played, 18 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.5 blocks, and 43% shooting, 37% from 3 (making over 2 a night), 81% from the FT line is one of the more impressive ever posted by a Dawg. Combining his point and assist totals, KCP directly contributed to over 35% of the points scored by Mark Fox's team this year.
If something was going well for Georgia on the court this year, Caldwell-Pope was often the cause of it. He led the team in scoring in 29 of 31 games this season, often the only Dawg in double figures. He scored at least 10 points in every game played. He led the team in rebounding another 11 times, and had 6 double doubles (10 or more points and 10 or more rebounds). He took his game to another level in the closing minutes as well, according to georgiadogs.com....
In the last five minutes of SEC games this season, he averaged 5.4 points (projects to 43.2 points over a 40-minute game), shooting 65 percent from the field, 63 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the free-throw line. He scored 31 percent of his total of 332 points in SEC play during the last five minutes.
The young man now has a huge decision to make this offseason. Does he enter the NBA, where he'll likely be a mid first round pick and making millions to start in someone's backcourt? Or does he delay that payday one more year, and try to get Georgia basketball dancing again? ONE MORE YEAR! ONE MORE YEAR! ONE MORE YEAR! #ONEMOREYEAR
Georgia tips off against LSU in the SEC Tournament at 1 on Tuesday, as Chuck previews here. We all hope it's not the last time we see KCP with "Georgia" printed across his chest.