As most had come to expect (and lee fanshotted earlier today), sophomore wing and current SEC Player of the Year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope announced today that he will not return for his junior season. He will enter the upcoming NBA draft, and hire an agent soon, effectively ending his eligibility. The NBA draft will be held in New York City on June 27th, and KCP is expected to be selected somewhere between picks 10 and 20 in the first round.
“I want to thank the University of Georgia for all it has done for me,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for the love and support.”
With the season over, and teams starting to review players who they felt might or might not go pro, the Greenville, GA native was rising up several analysts lists from the late first to the middle of the first round. As Georgia and SEC fans saw his play this year, it should come as no surprise that people loved his ability to score, his athleticism, and his effort, in addition to his all around game. Sadly, one thing a lot of analysts also point out in praising Caldwell-Pope was his lack of help from elsewhere on the roster.
Combine this bit of news, with Tony Parker's decision to remain at UCLA, and things start to look pretty bleak on the men's basketball front. Next season's squad will need a lot of improvement from returning players like rising junior F Nemi Djurisic, and rising sophomore Gs Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines, to help fill the massive void KCP leaves behind. We'll add Gs JJ Frazier and Jajuan Parker to the mix, but both come in expecting to fill roles as backups replacing seniors Vincent Williams and Sherrad Brantley. There are some JUCOs that appear to be on the staff's radar, but it's doubtful any have the talent to provide all that #1 did on the wings, leading the team in every conceivable category and giving Georgia it's best all-around player in a long, long time. Another struggle of a season appears to be on the horizon, and there's not a lot Mark Fox can do to change that right now.