Would it be best for KCP to give Georgia ‘one more year’?

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC's player of the year. (Associated Press)

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named the SEC's player of the year. (Associated Press)

As the UGA student section’s recent “One more year!” chant at Stegeman Coliseum indicates, the question of whether the basketball Bulldogs’ Mr. Everything, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, should return to Athens next season was already being tossed around even before the sensational sophomore was named SEC player of the year Tuesday by the conference’s coaches.

KCP, who also was named first-team All-SEC, is the league’s second-leading scorer with an average of 18 points per game and ranks among the conference leaders in nine of 13 individual statistical categories. He was without a doubt Georgia’s MVP, also leading his team in such categories as rebounds, steals and free-throw shooting. This season he is one of just 10 players in the country to have scored in double figures in every game.

With Georgia preparing to start SEC tournament play in Nashville Thursday, the star player, not surprisingly, wasn’t ready to talk about his future career Tuesday when he spoke with reporters.

“I’m not really trying to worry about that right now,” the low-key Caldwell-Pope said. “We’ve got the SEC tournament to worry about and I’ve just got that on my mind right now.”

He said he’d wait until after this season to think about whether to enter the NBA draft or return for his junior season at Georgia.

UGA coach Mark Fox said he’ll “make sure that Kentavious has accurate information from the right sources” in order to make his decision.

KCP said he's not ready yet to think about his NBA prospects. (ACJ File)

KCP said he's not ready yet to think about his NBA prospects. (ACJ File)

If those sources indicate to KCP that he’s a probable first-round pick, which means guaranteed money, it seems highly unlikely that he’d pass that up for another year playing at the Steg.

But right now a first-round spot for him not a sure thing, with most of the draft projections I’ve seen to date pegging KCP as an early second-round pick — a position he probably could improve with a terrific SEC tournament showing.

If he doesn’t wind up projected as a sure first-round pick, however, the young man faces a tough decision. He can look at how other players from Georgia and elsewhere have fared when they left school early but weren’t first-round picks: Yeah, they have a spot on an NBA roster, but they don’t get much playing time.

Another year playing in the SEC would hone KCP’s game considerably, and he’d definitely go in the first round of next year’s NBA draft, with better money.

KCP also indicated Tuesday, in response to a reporter’s question, that the way the Bulldogs turned around their season and Georgia’s chance at possibly being an NCAA tournament team next year might figure into his decision.

I’m glad he’s taking that into consideration. But while Georgia managed to be a midlevel SEC team this year with a very young lineup, and should be better next year if everyone returns, a couple of factors should temper expectations for the 2014 Dogs:

Even if KCP returns, Mark Fox still lacks a big man. (Associated Press)

Even if KCP returns, Mark Fox still lacks a big man. (Associated Press)

This was, frankly, a down year for the conference overall, and that may not be the case next year. The competition for those tournament spots is likely to be tougher in 2014.

Also, while Georgia will be adding point guard J.J. Frazier and shooting guard Juwan Parker next season, the team still lacks the big player that has eluded Fox so far — and which the Bulldogs badly need.

Unless the coach comes up with a junior college player to fill that role in the April signing period, that’s still going to be a gaping hole in the Bulldogs’ game. And so far Fox’s recruiting prowess has been disappointing with the exception of his one McDonald’s All-American and five-star prospect … KCP

So even if they get their star player back next year, the Bulldogs are no lock as a tournament team.

Like I said, Caldwell-Pope faces a tough decision if he doesn’t project as a first-round pick. What do you think he should do? And what are your thoughts on Georgia’s basketball prospects next year if he leaves early?

My wife and I are headed to Chapel Hill to visit our son, but I’ll be back next week as the football Bulldogs return from spring break (hopefully with no suspensions looming). In the meantime, if you’ve got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics or a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle, email me at  junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

50 comments Add your comment

Brandon

March 13th, 2013
8:00 am

I think he should stay one more year…I think he could lead the league in scoring and possibly be a lottery pick next year if he stays.

Joey

March 13th, 2013
8:00 am

I would tell him to go. Even if he sits on the bench somewhere, he still have hours and hours to spend working on his game, instead of spending half of every day in class.

I hope he doesn’t go though for selfish reasons.

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2013
9:31 am

I’m not sure spending hours and hours flying all over the country, living from one hotel room to another, is really a better deal than walking to class for 3-4 hours a day. It IS his destiny eventually……but I don’t get the feeling he is itching to get get out of town. I am certainly no expert, and not even educated in, what sort of time is devoted to a rookie at the bottom of an NBA lineup….VS the time he gets working on his game as a starter on a college team. I suspect KCP is already getting all the workout he can physically take every day, no matter.

Betting it 50/50. Pretty cowardly bet, but I just thinks he’s still not sure.

Bulldawg35

March 13th, 2013
9:39 am

No it would be best if we could hire somebody that could stop Bama from stealing so many recruits from us….who cares about basketball. We will never be big time in that sport

Joey

March 13th, 2013
9:59 am

Good points (9:31), but you left out one not-so-small detail.

$$$$ – and lots of it.

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2013
10:18 am

Do NBA guys get paid well?

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2013
10:26 am

The thing is he is getting that $$$. He knows that. Its not a now or never situation. I don’t think his family is struggling and I assume he is insured if he has a horrific scooter accident.

I’m not sure getting it in a month, or a year and a month, really is the biggest factor to him. Thats all going to average out over the next decade.

Also, I would think that his stock would RISE later, if more $$$ at the front end were the question.

Fridawg

March 13th, 2013
10:29 am

I think he stays to get 1st round $$. I’ve read elsewhere that his dad isn’t the biggest fan of him staying at UGA. I sure hope we pick up a true big man from JUCO because that is what kills us.

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2013
10:44 am

One interesting factor that Bill mentions is wanting to help his team to the NCAA next year…..and then gives the devil’s advocates view (that I think is fair as far as analysis, but irrelevant in terms of impacting his decision). He’s not sitting there guaging what the other teams are going to do, or the chances of X number of SEC teams getting in. He’s thinking they are going to be pretty good, and he wants to be part of that, from a purely emotional and competitive standpoint. Thats not a ledger sheet issue. It might not end up being enough of an emotional issue in the end, but nobody is going to talk him INTO leaving his Georgia team based on bracketology for 2014. And I doubt that NBA scouts really are hanging on that.

FWIW, I also think that the NBA probably wants kids to stay in college as long as possible.

Dirty Dawg

March 13th, 2013
10:50 am

The kid is a goodun and will do well ‘at the next level’…however, I hope he’ll realize that he has a chance to be a huge ‘game changer’ for the Georgia, and Mark Fox’s, basketball program. With another year maturation of the current – and hopefully a little more strength and aggressiveness from D. Williams – players…a few more top recruits, including a ‘big’ or two…next year’s team could very well compete for a conference championship. Do that and you fill Stegeman and create a buzz that could be a real ‘jump-start’ for the future. Of course if he decides to leave, then the chances for, extra-ordinary, success next year are pretty much a crap-shoot…if even that.

GTBob

March 13th, 2013
2:15 pm

Sorry, but he would be an idiot to stay. UGA isn’t going to be a conference or national contender next year and he won’t have the personnel around him to really take his game to another level. It would be much better for his career to start getting ready for NBA workouts and try to work his way into the first round similar to how Iman Shumpert did. Staying another year not only wastes a year but could hurt his draft status as much as it could help it.

UGA Insider

March 13th, 2013
2:24 pm

I was at the game that was nationally televised by CBS. The HoopHounds were playing USCe and UGA has 5000 fans that showed up. That’s embarrassing Dawg fans…. and you expect this kid to stay? Most of the fan-base and some of the kids in school are just plain lazy if you ask me. Sorry, spoiled and lazy. If Pope leaves UGA fans and students are to blame! As they are for the pathetic recruiting. All our competition has to show is a picture of our 70% empty building. If you are a 5star why play in front of that??

UGA Insider

March 13th, 2013
2:27 pm

Also, UGA football fans are lazy in general as well. Most never stand up and think you should be quite like you are in Augusta or something. I love it when UGA plays in the Dome b/c most of the lazy fan-base is sitting at home.

AceDawg

March 13th, 2013
3:29 pm

If KCP leaves, there are no prospects for UGA basketball next year.

Caldwell Pope really should stay though – he hasn’t quite looked like a primetime NBA player yet. UGA does look to be on the upswing and a team he can make the NCAA tourney with next year, and playing with an improving team will make him perform better and get a fulfilling experience to end college with.

ValricoDawg

March 13th, 2013
4:58 pm

I think KCP should stay unless he is a guaranteed top10-15 pick if he isnt in that range he will do better in college working with a coach like CMF vs riding the pine in the NBA like travis leslie and trey tompkins. This is just MHO that I am giving .

AltamahaDawg

March 13th, 2013
8:27 pm

Speaking of not being a stand up guy, how about those lazy football fans who scream to fire the coach halfway through a 12-2 season.

bubb4dawgs

March 13th, 2013
9:08 pm

Congratulations, KCP, for an outstanding year!! Look at it this way, one more year will be added value for you going pro. You have it all, it’s a matter of being patient and going for a sure thing….being picked higher in the draft. The team will be better next year and you’ll still be the leader and enjoy the fruits of having a great year with the DAWGS! If I can say anything, it would be for you to be very patient! Surely, at some point in time, you will want to finish school and get your degree. Next year will put you one more step toward that goal. You can then start earning the big bucks, more than you might make if you left now! You’re a DGD! Stay!!

RED DOG 77

March 13th, 2013
10:35 pm

Altamaha ‘ol buddy those last two lines were the most profound I’ve read on this site………….period……………carry-on, my BULLDOG comrad………………RED

RED DOG 77

March 13th, 2013
10:44 pm

I have all the respect in the world for KCP, and hope all his “hoop ball” dreams come true………………but Bill seemed to mention he was out of town, so give the great KCP his propers, and I sincerily mean it, but then let’s get back to football………………..RED

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

March 14th, 2013
10:23 am

Sure. UGA needs help turning this school into a basketball school so it can finally have an elite sports team…

32 years

Bawbie

March 14th, 2013
4:39 pm

FIRE DAVE PERNO!

Ugadawg32

March 14th, 2013
5:37 pm

If it was football I would want him to stay but since it is only basketball, does it really matter?

JPro

March 14th, 2013
6:39 pm

Time to fire Mark Fox. Guy is a .500 coach at UGA. He can’t recruit. He’s lost in the land of the mediocre.

One 1 20+ win season at UGA, time to get a winner in here.

RED DOG 77

March 14th, 2013
11:15 pm

Hey “Tide rolling to a screeching halt”……………My goodness how you are slow………….But at least your an Alabama fan on a Georgia site……….looks like a little man crush to me……….now just who is the man you have the crush on?………………Murray, Gurshall, Todd Grantham, Altamaha…………Me?……………Oh heavens goodbye……………….RED

I-DOG

March 15th, 2013
8:45 am

I agree with georgia tech Bob. That doesn’t happen very often.

Off topic, but Interesting how far Jarvis Jones draft status has fallen. Through most of the season, he was considered a strong possibility as the FIRST PICK OVERALL. At this point, it looks like he will be the 4th or 5th pass rusher taken which is quite a drop. I have seen some mock drafts that have him toward the bottom of the first round and even some have him going early in the 2nd round.

I’m sure on film his technique is not flawless, but I would think some team would be getting a heckuva a value if he goes outside the top 15. He had two extremely productive years in the SEC and the neck didn’t seem to be a problem through 2 full seasons and practices (I believe he missed the KY game for a hamstring tweak that he might have been able to play through, but the coaches wisely decided to give him the week off to heal).

Would love to read a well researched article on how he went from a top 3 pick to a late first rounder once the dust settled.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

March 15th, 2013
9:44 am

Slow?

Slow is your defense in the second half..

NCDawg

March 15th, 2013
10:11 am

Basketball is a distant second for my attention… football has always been first and foremost. I care only peripherally about the Dawgs hoops but even only paying only half attention to basketball I know the KCP is a special player.
Financially, I don’t see much for him to gain by staying. However, I think it would be a good move for him to come back because of the experience. He will ride the pine his first year for almost certain. You don’t improve very much when you aren’t playing. Sure he will be getting professional grade instruction but experience is where it really at.
Unless some team is willing to use a top 10 pick on him and has a desperate need for a shooting guard, KCP will sit in favor of a veteran in 9 out of 10 cases and that equals being stale. Sure you are making money while doing it but if you really love the game and WANT to play that could be detrimental in the long run.
Maybe money makes all that moot but sometimes it is worth it to look beyond the green god.

NCDawg

March 15th, 2013
12:06 pm

T*rd Rolling – slow? That’s you. Slow and pathological. Dangerous combination. It’s been 4 months and still you come on a University of Georgia blogs and gloat. Something is seriously wrong with you dude… you need some professional help. I am talking heavy duty medication. No right minded individual would continue to gloat the way you do months after the fact.
Oh, I’m sorry… that was probably over your head. Here I’ll dumb it down… somethin ain’t right with you boy! Call the doc- NOW!

McDawg

March 15th, 2013
2:59 pm

if he is a 1st rounder-it is a no brainer-take the $$$ but would love for him to come back

Dog4Life

March 15th, 2013
6:58 pm

Do not like “Debbie Downers” but concerning Caldwell-Pope, if Fox is unable to get a big presence under the rim from Jr College or like the Noell kid at Ky, he might as well go pro. It will be another long year for UGA basketball. They have a lot of young talent, but they have no “big man” to grab boards and be a presence in the paint, and you cannot always 3 pt to victory.

Dog4Life

March 15th, 2013
7:01 pm

Concerning UGA baseball, it is time for Perno to go. He came off a 2 World Series appearances and played in the championship game in one appearance and still could not recruit off that success. He has had some great pitching talent, but couldn’t get it done. He is cheap, though–so I guess McGarity will keep him

RED DOG 77

March 15th, 2013
11:27 pm

Tide rolling to a stop…………….yesereebobtail mister…………point of slow would be your brainpower[ or lack thereof]………….this and other sites are designed to discuss college football, not scratching ugly remarks on a bathroom stall at a nasty smelling gas station bathroom. I’m sure you get thrilled with yourself after posting what you think is a “real zinger”………..problem is, you only thrill yourself. Most mature college football fans I have spoken with refer to the SECCG as a true classic and razor close on the scoreboard, as well as the field…………..You on the other hand don’t get the satisfaction of enjoying the fine play of both teams…………….I feel real sorry for you, as you appear to have missed the game[probubly drunk] and certainly don’t yet “get it” as far as what a real student and fan of the game means…………….good luck though, you might just catch-up one day……………..I said “might”…………………xxxooo……………….RED

G Spice

March 16th, 2013
10:53 am

A better article for the AJC UGA Sports folks is: What is AD Greg McGarity planning to do to elevate UGA men’s basketball beyond its historical level? He went to UF in ‘92, a few years before the Gators became relevant in basketball and made an appearance in their first Final Four. He watched Jeremy Foley demand excellence in all sports programs. What is he thinking watching our men’s basketball and baseball programs? Is he going to fall in line with the dippity doo UGA AA culture of “hey we’re a Capitol One Bowl-level football program and by God we are pretty darn good at those spring sports!!!!”?

Fox, if he doesn’t have the sense to do it himself, must be forced to hire a capable recruiter. All this talk about KCP returning next year is just ignoring the issue.

bubb4dawgs

March 16th, 2013
9:08 pm

Another year with the DAWGS won’t hurt the Pope! It’ll just make his daddy wait another year for an expected $$$ windfall. Pope will get his $$ in due time and will probably draw more next year than this year.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

March 16th, 2013
9:51 pm

Just remember Red Dog, the best chance you’ve had in 30 years, still is not as good as Bama…

5 yards…

32 years…

RED DOG 77

March 17th, 2013
12:38 am

Tide rolling slowly………….Good Grief son………I’ll agree Georgia and Alabama are on two different levels………Ok 5yds……32yrs……….yup, yer right………..and while I admire the Alabama “prowess” on the field…………. coach Richt is running the Georgia program, well as a college program, while Nick Saban runs his like a pro organization……….in other words, molding young men to live acording to sportsmanship and earning an education is the Georgia way, while you can get caught smoking pot one, two, three times before you lose any playing time at Alabama. One time at Georgia, two games, two times four games…………..It is two different worlds altogether………….you can’t cut it at Bama, and Saban “cuts” you………..you get a scholarship from Georgia and Richt, and no matter, it’s your for four full years…………..So according to true ethics and playing the game correctly, while I still think Alabama is a great school, Georgia and coach Richt, and me…………yeseree we win……….that’s all………………RED

Rabun Dawg

March 17th, 2013
2:46 pm

THe UGA baseball team is a pathetic joke.So far this season they have lost to Ga. Southern, Ga. State, Kennesaw St., Liberty, Western Carolina, Appy State, and are on the verge of being swept by Texas A&M to open the SEC schedule. This is a program that was in the finals of the CWS a few years ago, and now has trouble qualifying for the SEC tournament. Coach Perno has dragged this program down to the pits of the SEC, and no one seems to care, or so it appears. Never any mention of what is happening with this program in the media. It is pitiful that this University has let this happen. Mr. AD, where are you, and why are you letting this go on? This season is already a disaster, and conference play has just started. Cut ties with this Coach so someone else can come in and recruit some decent players going forward.

RED DOG 77

March 17th, 2013
3:10 pm

HMMM………..Looks like no argument from “Tide rolling slowly down hill”…………RED

Lagdawg

March 17th, 2013
7:38 pm

Personally I think he should return for his junior season. He is an excellent player and had a great season but, I do think another year will make him more ready for the NBA. He still needs to learn how to create off the dribble and be consistent the whole game. I know that is hard because he is the only scorer on the team. Fox is doing a horrible job of recruiting and the program is sinking deeper into oblivion. Maybe another year for Fox and then go hard after Steve Alford.

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

March 17th, 2013
9:37 pm

HMMM………..Looks like no argument from “Tide rolling slowly down hill”…………RED

Sorry, had things to do. You should try it….

BUT, this single comment, “olding young men to live acording to sportsmanship and earning an education is the Georgia way,” destroys your entire argument.

You’re #1 party school produces more arrests than any other program in the nation the last 4 years. Make excuses all you want, but on numerous levels, you just aren’t Alabama.

“Mark Richt is a great man, waaaa, waaaa. Saban runs a pro team, waaa waaa.

Winners don’t make excuses, that’s why it’s…

32 years…

RED DOG 77

March 17th, 2013
10:14 pm

Whooa………..A little fiesty there “Rolling”…………..don’t know what “olding” means but as long as you do , ok then……..”party school” Georgia ? I suppose, but I can’t see what that has to do with the SECCG.or Georgia’s fotball program………as far as arrests, acually you make my point. Let’s say you play ball in Athens, you are pulled over, your car smells like booze, pot, whatever………you are going to jail……….Period. Ok, say the same happens any where in Alabama [except Auburn]………..You’re getting a ride home, and an attaboy from the cops…………Son, you simply can’t debate me on this one, I’ve been following both Georgia and Alabama before you were born. as far as finding something to do…………I’m a rich ‘ol fart that does just about anything I want whenever I want………….So go scratch your “dirty little diddys” on a smelly restroom stall and leave us alone…………….we have all grown quite tired of you……….but i guess that thrills you as well………………Time for bed……..Gotta get-up make that money and slay a few dragons…………Regards to you “Roller derby”…………………RED

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

March 18th, 2013
8:51 am

Wow, Red Dog understands the inner workings of multiple schools’ disciplinary problems. You Georgia fans actually believe that Richt is the strict one.

I suppose this makes sense as you believed you were going to have a good defense heading into 2012.

You delusional dawgs will believe anything that helps you sleep at night and cope with your Alabama jeasouly issues.

And that is why it’s…

32 years…

Let’s not also forget, 1 in 4 on food stamps, prostitute panty grabbing, drunk ADs, 50 arrests in 4 years, cheating school teachers. You see, your team is a microcosm of your entire state. You don’t have the class to win a championship. You’d rather live in your delusions.

32 years…let’s just go ahead and say 33

The tide fans

March 18th, 2013
9:57 pm

Kcp will stay, and they will make the NCAA tourn next yr.

I love how tidefans come here to gloat, like they put on the jersey and helped out
You cheer for young boys, remember that. How’s that gloating feel now inbreds?

The tide fans

March 18th, 2013
10:00 pm

Shortage in deer spray and roids in bama too? Hmmm?
I am notmamuganfan, but I would pass on living in bama vs living in Ga and cheering for UGA.
Evennw/o the trophies, I mean who wants to live in bama, seriously?

RED DOG 77

March 18th, 2013
11:19 pm

See you Wednesday “Tide Rolling papers”……………..xxxoooo RED

RED DOG 77

March 18th, 2013
11:21 pm

Oh………….or 333 years, whichever comes first…………RED

NCDawg

March 19th, 2013
6:54 am

“You don’t have the class to win a championship. You’d rather live in your delusions.” Now I know you have psychiatric problems! Are you serious?!!!!
What manner of CLASS does sticking a roll of TOILET paper on top of a box of Tide detergent fill?! You are certifiably insane. No right minded person would display that in public much less deem it clever.
Dispute that… I DARE you! You people WORSHIP football. How much CLASS do you display coming on a University of Georgia blog and GLOATING about a victory that occurred 4 months ago! You are an embarrassment to your state.

NCDawg

March 19th, 2013
6:57 am

And now I know why you are on THESE blogs… you were kicked off the Bama blogs.

Class of '98

March 20th, 2013
8:15 am

Why on earth would he stay? In hopes that UGA could make a magical run to the NIT?

It’s a foregone conclusion, folks. He’s gone.

And and this point (and every other point), I’m more concerned about losing defensive backs from Camden County High School.

NCDawg

March 20th, 2013
8:46 am

It’s 11 months until signing day Class of 98… the kid may change his mind half a dozen times before then. He probably will rethink it in the fall when he is watching his friends take their official visits and he is locked in. I don’t like early commitments… there really shouldn’t be any such thing. Bad for the kid and bad for the school.