Travis Leslie will pass on NBA draft and keep dunking for the Dogs

Travis Leslie will keep dunking for the Dogs for at least another year.

Georgia’s high-flying sophomore forward from Decatur announced Wednesday afternoon that he will pass on the 2010 NBA draft and remain with the Bulldogs for his junior season.

“After talking about it with my family and coaches, I believe it’s the best decision for me,” Leslie said in a statement. “I enjoy being at Georgia. . .  I think we have a chance to have a great season next year. Right now I just want to continue working hard to improve as a player and help us become a great program.”

Leslie made huge strides in his second season at Georgia, averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and drawing much national attention for his dunks. He had a recurring role on ESPN’s “Top 10″ plays-of-the-day feature.

His sophomore season contrasted sharply with his freshman year, when Leslie averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds and was benched for the final five games to focus on academics.

Leslie had said during this past season that he planned to return for his junior year, but he amended that after the SEC tournament, saying he would discuss the NBA draft possibility with his family.

“He knows what he would have to hear [from the NBA] to leave here,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said earlier this week, “and he’s been very mature in his approach. . . . One of the things Travis will tell you is, he knows there are a lot of things he can continue to work on. And he enjoys college.”

Leslie declined an interview request after Wednesday’s announcement, saying he had schoolwork to do.

Some NBA mock drafts have Leslie, who attended Columbia High School, as a first-round pick in 2011, but he had not been projected as a first-rounder in 2010.

With Leslie’s decision made, Georgia awaits word on whether Trey Thompkins, also a sophomore, will enter the  draft. Thompkins, who declined comment Wednesday, made first-team All-SEC this past season, leading Georgia in scoring (17.7 points per game) and rebounds (8.3 per game).

“I don’t know,” Fox said when asked this week whether Thompkins will go or stay.  “We’re getting information for him. He knows I’ll support whatever he does. It’s his life, and it’s his career. He enjoys college and knows he can get better, but he’s got a very bright future.  If I was going to give him any advice, it would be to listen to the 30 general managers that make the decision on draft day.  . . . We need to find out what those people think.”

The NBA’s deadline for underclassmen to enter the draft is April 25, and the NCAA’s deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft and preserve their college eligibility is May 8.

49 comments Add your comment

Dawaholic

March 31st, 2010
4:51 pm

SD Dawg

March 31st, 2010
4:52 pm

Right call for him and our program. Looking forward to seeing him improve.

Diamond Dog's Parole Officer

March 31st, 2010
4:59 pm

I’m guessing he doesn’t need Mett to help him with a fake ID….

bill_in_atl

March 31st, 2010
5:01 pm

Obviously the right move for Travis and it’s also good news for UGA hoops.

If Trey comes back the Dawgs might make some noise next year, especially with Robinson at the PG.

Bo Williams

March 31st, 2010
5:04 pm

I noticed that UNC has 7 Mac AA’s on their current team. They will lose 1-2 (don’t know if Ginyard is AA), but they have at least three on this year’s AA team. I.e., they will have at least 8 on next year’s team. If UGa gives credence to recruiting in fb, then it follows that credence should be given to recruiting in bb. If indeed there is any credence in recruiting rankings, then UGa is in deep doo-doo.

smith30

March 31st, 2010
5:05 pm

good day for dawgs basketball. leslie comes back and we got the kid out of miller grove. hopefully we can get the kid from cali.

Bob

March 31st, 2010
5:06 pm

Smart move for everyone.

Barkin'Dog

March 31st, 2010
5:07 pm

Woof-woof!! Great News… and I think Trey will follow suit.
They can both be remembered for helping to turn the UGA BB program into a perennial contender. In fact, I can see them both returning the year after for a championship run. But, then again, I’m looking through rose colored glasses. Happy Easter everyone!

carson

March 31st, 2010
5:16 pm

Georgia has a basketball team?

ASHVILLE DAWG

March 31st, 2010
5:27 pm

Cogratulations Mr. Leslie on a very mature decision. Another year at UGA will give you more knowledge and allow you to grow your game. Hope you become a lottery pick next year.

GA MOM

March 31st, 2010
5:30 pm

I’m glad he made that decision. I hate to see these kids jumping to the draft so soon. Another year will help him mature and grow and it will definitely help the UGA basketball team as well. Go DOGS!

Grandad

March 31st, 2010
5:33 pm

I would like to see Trey on the Hawks next yr.
I would LOVE to see Trey on the DAWGS next yr.

Two or three of the above posters are foolish with their remarks.

I wish for CMF and his program great fortune in the future.
He appears to be a good coach & a better man.

Happy Dawg

March 31st, 2010
5:34 pm

I saw the word FORGO in the title and immediatley though, “no no no NOOO”
glad to see he’s stayin

Pi$$onaDAWG

March 31st, 2010
5:35 pm

This is great! I hope the young man wants more School and more coaching form a Fox. I hope he enjoys his last year at UGA, the chance to enjoy college for another year, and to mature. I think that was a grat choice.

RomeDawg

March 31st, 2010
6:01 pm

Glad he’s back for 1 more!

bigeasy830

March 31st, 2010
6:43 pm

Great decision by Travis. He definitely needs another year. He has great potential but he will be more NBA ready after another season at UGA so will Trey hopefully he stays. It is best for them as well as the UGA program. Marvin Williams is a good example, he is a decent pro player but could have been a superstar by now and would have been much more NBA ready if he would have stayed another year at UNC.

Jon in Athens

March 31st, 2010
6:49 pm

@Bo Williams: UNC had 7 MacDonald’s All-Americans on their team this year, and they were terrible. Sometimes the best players on the team were 3 Star recruits. BB recruiting is so different from FB. There are probably 10x as many kids playing bball in elementary, middle, and hs than there are playing fball. Fox is going to have some great stuff to build on next season and I’m excited to for next year!

Taylor

March 31st, 2010
6:51 pm

Good to hear.Hopefully TT stays too

FalconUGAFan

March 31st, 2010
6:51 pm

Good for you, young man. Welcome back. Best of luck with the the DAWGS and your future NBA career.

BG

March 31st, 2010
7:11 pm

Great news. Go Dawgs!!!!!

renegade#1

March 31st, 2010
7:14 pm

Things are looking better for UGA Leslie and hopefully Thompkins a couple of good recruits. Top of the world Ma.

Steve

March 31st, 2010
7:25 pm

Greatr decision and I really hope it works out well for him. He seems to be a very down to earth young man, which is lacking in most NBA prospects these days. Trey might slot as a first rounder, but he would likely benefit from staying another year as well.

Either way, the fact the Dawgs actually have a couple of players good enough to leave early is refreshing. That sitll means we are under a handful over the last decade or so. This tells me we just aren’t getting it done recruiting wise. There is absolutely no reason for Georgia not to recruit better. Maybe we are not up there with the storied programs of old, but neither is Florida and they have been swimming in talent over the lsat decade. We need to hit that level so we can get our hoops team to the level where it should be.

I think Coach Fox is a much better game coach than we have had recently, now let’s hope he can light the fire on the recruiting trail. The first season of recruiting didn’t seem to net much according to the scouting services. Maybe year two will be better since he has more time.

Bo Williams

March 31st, 2010
7:58 pm

Jon in Athens. I know you are trying, but the more top-ranked recruits you have on your team, the better your team will be as a rule. Look at the AA’s on UNC’s recent NC teams, as well as those on Kansas and Duke. If you don’t have top talent, you won’t go the route. You can be good, and competitive in any one game, but you can’t go the route when the other team doesn’t fall off when it substitutes. UNC was missing parts. It didn’t have AA’s at the 2 guard and at the small forward position. They didn’t have the hot-shooting 2 guard and a small forward who can score (like Ellington and Green, not to mention Lawson at PG. They will have all of those pieces next year, with depth as well. Also, its best big man (Davis) missed the last half of the season. ) If you watched them, they were playing three freshmen at once at times (Stickland, Henson, McDonald). Watch, this talent, together with the 3 they get next year, will make them better than UGa could ever dream to be given the players they will have.

SOOHSO

March 31st, 2010
7:59 pm

24rd or close. I’ll recount.

Bo Williams

March 31st, 2010
8:00 pm

Big Easy, if Williams, Felton, etc., had not gone pro, Florida wouold not have won back-back chamnpionships. Fl’s players did stay for 4 years if you remember.

kydawg

March 31st, 2010
9:10 pm

Don’t forget that NBA strike possibility! We might keep him all four years if that happens…just sayin’. GO DAWGS…GREAT NEWS!!!

cdog

March 31st, 2010
9:45 pm

travis, thanks for using good sense and judgement. now work on your game tremendously during the off season and you will be ready for the nba one day, also, talk to your teammate, trey thompkins.he’s a million miles away from being ready for the nba.he needs to do the same so he can be rready when the time comes.

Legend of Len Barker

March 31st, 2010
9:50 pm

I think Thompkins will stay. He’s not going to be a very high draft pick if he’s picked at all.

I just hope Leslie can develop a bit more a jumper. Right now, he’s a slightly more athletic Josh Smith and that’s not really a good thing.

While, I’m here, kudos to Coach Fox.

He invited all of the student season ticket holders to come to the Steg for a free meal. He personally greeted everyone who walked through the door.

Note: he likes West Virginia in the tournament.

SEC Fan

March 31st, 2010
9:51 pm

average 14 pts a game on a bad team and was thinking of leaving for NBA? i know he has some potential but i didn’t even think he would consider leaving?

uga vii

March 31st, 2010
10:11 pm

sec fan you are an idiot.

NRBQ

March 31st, 2010
10:22 pm

Jon,

Check your numbers, son.

10 X more basketball players?

The football and baseball teams each have over twice as many players on rosters as the basketball team.

Taylor

March 31st, 2010
11:39 pm

Bo Williams, fill me in on how many MAC AA Butler has.Duke?

Harry

April 1st, 2010
3:37 am

Of course he stayed, who the hell would draft him?

bob

April 1st, 2010
4:23 am

Good choice by Leslie; she didn’t look very good against Stanford the other night.

BuLLdawg

April 1st, 2010
5:47 am

Tim

April 1st, 2010
6:40 am

What is this basketball you speak of?

Required Reading | Hard Knox Sports

April 1st, 2010
7:47 am

[...] Travis Leslie returning to Georgia for junior year [AJC] [...]

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

April 1st, 2010
8:12 am

Methinks Thompkins is gone. And, really, with huge money potential, I can’t blame him. It would be tough to wait, though another year in college would mean much more money in 2011.

Adele

April 1st, 2010
8:36 am

dawghouse1011 -Athens

April 1st, 2010
8:43 am

FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! I love watching him play….. GO DAWGS!!!

The Dogfighter Returns

April 1st, 2010
8:58 am

There is no need for leslie to rush. he has the type of game that fans at the next level will purchase tickets to watch.

once he develops a reliable jumper no one will be able to guard him.

spell check

April 1st, 2010
9:12 am

Tim, spell check man, spell check. Especially in the title. Jes sayin’…

Larry

April 1st, 2010
9:43 am

Great news about Travis returning but I think he’ll have a difficult time playing guard in the NBA, no matter what year he leaves.

WonderDawg

April 1st, 2010
10:07 am

Atta boy, Travis. Give Coach Fox another year to develop your talents and get you ready for the big show!

WonderDawg

April 1st, 2010
10:14 am

Come on Bo, if it was just about having stars in your lineup, Kentucky’s run wouldn’t have ended in already. They’ve got 3 lottery picks and another first-rounder in their lineup. How many lottery picks does Butler have? Coaching still goes a long way.

Tim Tucker

April 1st, 2010
10:41 am

spell check: Help me out here. What’s the misspelled word?

KimZ's Package

April 1st, 2010
11:22 am

Was the fact that this punk was considering going PRO an early April fools joke or what?

J. Harrick

April 2nd, 2010
12:45 am

NIT maybe in 2011? One can dream.

Upstate Dawg

April 3rd, 2010
12:06 am

Great news for the Dawgs….let’s hope Trey stays, too. The bozos questioning either leaving obviously haven’t seen these guys play. With both back and the newcomers, the Big Dance is a viable goal for next season.