The reigning Southeastern Conference Player of the year, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, has decided to forego his final two seasons of eligibility at the University of Georgia so he can enter the 2013 NBA Draft.
Caldwell-Pope finished second in the SEC, averaging 18.5 points per game and led the Bulldogs in points, rebounding, steals and minutes played.
“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.”
In his two seasons with the Bulldogs, Caldwell-Pope shot 41.5 percent from the floor and averaged 15.8 points per game and saw a significant increase from his freshman to sophomore year in almost every statistical category.
He was the only Georgia player that averaged double digits in scoring and Caldwell-Pope’s 591 points this season were 30.4 percent of UGA’s scoring. Caldwell-Pope averaged 33.9 minutes per game and senior Vincent Williams averaged 19.3.
Georgia will now have to replace two of its top five players in minutes played and two of its top four in points scored.
If Caldwell-Pope had decided to return to UGA for his junior season the Bulldogs would have been considered a legitimate NCAA Tournament team. UGA won nine of its last 14 regular season SEC games and looked like a team that was building for the future. Now head coach Mark Fox will have to rebuild his team from the ground up.
“It’s been a pleasure to coach Kentavious and to see him grow as both a player and a person,” Fox said. “I wish him nothing but success as he pursues his dreams. He will always be a part of the Georgia family.”
The 2013 NBA Draft is scheduled for June 27 and Caldwell-Pope cannot change his mind and return to UGA because he’s already hired an agent. According to NBADraft.net, Caldwell-Pope is considered a first-round prospect but likely won’t be a lottery pick.