It’s official: UGA’s Travis Leslie will stay in NBA draft

Guard Travis Leslie is taking his high-flying act to the NBA after three seasons at Georgia. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Guard Travis Leslie is taking his high-flying act to the NBA after three seasons at Georgia. (AJC photo by Hyosub Shin)

Travis Leslie has decided to keep his name in the NBA draft. That means his college basketball career at Georgia is officially over.

The good news is the Bulldogs will have two players in the NBA draft pool at the same time for the first time in school history (forward Trey Thompkins had already declared himself a professional). The bad news is coach Mark Fox has now lost his two leading scorers from last year’s NCAA tournament team and is now in full-blown rebuilding mode. It’s probably no coincidence that the announcement came on the eve of the opening of the spring signing period.

Leslie, a 6-4 guard from Decatur’s Columbia High School, averaged 14.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game as a junior last season. He finishes with 1,099 career points, 30th all-time at Georgia.

“After talking it over with my family, I have decided that I will forgo my senior year and enter into the NBA Draft,” Leslie said in a statement released by the school. “I would like to thank UGA for giving me the opportunity, as well as Coach Fox and the staff in helping me to improve my game. Last but not least, I’d like to thank the Georgia fans for their support over the past three years.”

The NBA draft is June 23. Leslie has projected as anywhere from late first-round to a second-round selection.

“It was my pleasure to coach Travis,” Fox said. “It has been a real joy to see him develop as a player the past couple of seasons. He has made a decision to pursue his dream and we wish him nothing but the best.”

By Chip Towers, The UGA Blog

66 comments Add your comment

DawginLex

April 12th, 2011
4:01 pm

Big mistake Travis.

Learn to speak a foreign language if you want to play ball.

Hope I am wrong.

chc4

April 12th, 2011
4:13 pm

Nice player but he is bound for Europe. Elite athlete. Good NCAA player. Not NBA level. Wish him the best though.

don medeiros

April 12th, 2011
4:14 pm

Dawgin Lex – I think you are right on. I don’t think his game translates well to the NBA.

D A DoubleU G

April 12th, 2011
4:15 pm

Thanks for all the hard work; highlight memories, and most importantly of all, a winning record against the pompous d-bags from North Ave while you were here.

73-66
73-72

Go Dawgs!!!!!

Dawg92

April 12th, 2011
4:18 pm

Wish him well but he could use another year at UGA.

Bob

April 12th, 2011
4:23 pm

absolutely baffling. no handle. no jumpshot. poor passer. all 3 could be improved with another year of school. instead, opts to get drafted in the 2nd round by a team that won’t even be playing next year – as the nba lockout is far more certain than the nfl. as a result, he’ll be a 2nd round pick competing with twice the usual amount of rookies for a roster spot in 2012. have fun in europe, travis. awfully sorry to see u become another statistic.

BULLLDAWGHUFF

April 12th, 2011
4:23 pm

Good luck. but bad move.

Worm

April 12th, 2011
4:28 pm

Wish you luck Travis, but I’m with dawginlex..

51WTGW50

April 12th, 2011
4:33 pm

Stop using the R word. It is as offensive to R necks as the N word is to black folks.
STOP ALLOWING the use of REDNECK just like we have stopped the use of the N word.

Fool. Should stay in school. Lucky if he breaks the 3rd round.

sandiegodawg

April 12th, 2011
4:34 pm

as much as I enjoy watching his thundering dunks, the overall game just isn’t there. Leslie- see D.A. Lane.

b

April 12th, 2011
4:35 pm

Welcome to the new Harold Minor.
What a mistake.
Shumpert is closer to being ready for the NBoreA league than Travis and
I hate GT.
All these fifty guys leaving early: how in the hech are they all going to make it?

Brian

April 12th, 2011
4:35 pm

Please talk some sense in this boy……….it’s not worth it! Travis will never play for an NBA team. Talent wasted! Good Luck!

Buckeye

April 12th, 2011
4:39 pm

Mark Fox will be .500 in 2011/2012 season.

The last we will hear of Travis Leslie is on draft day. He’ll be lucky to make a club roster.

'82DAWG

April 12th, 2011
4:46 pm

First time in history with 2 players in NBA draft pool? Didn’t Vern Fleming and James Banks come out in the same year?

Diaper Dandy

April 12th, 2011
4:55 pm

UGAs streak of NCAA tournament appearances is over, at one.

Maybe if he needs the $$

April 12th, 2011
4:56 pm

I am not ashamed to say that I can not name all NBA teams, beyond the Celtics and the Lakers and the Hawks and one or two more. NBA is simply last on my list of entertainment venues. Sorry.

Maybe if Travis is drafted and they only pay him $125,000 per year, that still is no small sum for any adult in today’s world, much less a 21 yr old kid. Now, I am sure if he is drafted in the second round, that translates into what? a 3 year $$1.8 million contract if not far more? I do not keep up with NBA salaries, so I am sure that I am way wrong.

He probably can use the money. No news there.

Good luck UGA Dog!! Thanks for your fine efforts!!!

Ted M

April 12th, 2011
5:01 pm

I don’t think TL is as good as Harold Minor.

Ted M

April 12th, 2011
5:03 pm

He’ll likely have to make as a free agent. Perhaps he’ll develop a shot in the next 6 month.Let’s hope so.

SEC Basketball

April 12th, 2011
5:03 pm

I am sorry but the kid is not ready. Must be some financial pressure from the family and if he goes in the second there is no guarantee. Great athlete but needed another year to work in a lot of areas. Hope the kid finishes his degree and best of luck to him. I hope we are all wrong and he goes in the first but it is wishful thinking.

Ted M

April 12th, 2011
5:04 pm

the minimum salary is $750,000.

Mr. Coach

April 12th, 2011
5:08 pm

Ha Fox had 2 NBA drafts picks on his roster and couldn’t win a single NCAA tournament game. Even Hewitt made it to the 2nd round in ‘10 with Favor and Lawal.

collegeballfan

April 12th, 2011
5:16 pm

“Learn to speak a foreign language if you want to play ball.”

What if he does? He will still make more money than 95% of the graduates of the University of Georgia.

He has nothing to prove by staying in college another year. He can play with any other college player in the country. The NBA will depend on the system of the curent NBA coach who gets him. If he ends up overseas, that still pays well.

Buckeye

April 12th, 2011
5:20 pm

This was the quickest hook from the first page in uga blog history…..

Bo

April 12th, 2011
5:29 pm

nothing left to prove? isn’t that what you say about someone who own a national title, or at least a conference title and made a final 4? for example, joakim noah had “nothing left to prove.” u seem to suggest that by making the ncaa tournament and losing in the first round, leslie accomplished all that a college player can hope to – thats just not smart.
he had plenty left to prove, such as: he can shoot, he can dribble, he can show up consistently every night against inferior college talent, he can be “the man” (which he never was), and perhaps that he could lead a team beyond the ncaa bubble. other than that though, yea he did it all…

DAWG ONE

April 12th, 2011
5:32 pm

That big sigh of relief came from North Avenue. Doesn’t make any difference, however. We will still use them for practice and give our bench some playing time. If Tech gets relevant in the future again, we will be able to have some competition from them.
I am sorry to see Travis go. He is a fun player to watch. I wish him well, but feel it may be a year early for him.

Wayans

April 12th, 2011
5:54 pm

Good luck Travis you were a DGD

Sic em

AltamahaDawg

April 12th, 2011
6:24 pm

He obviously consulted with folks that know before he made it final. I think he can use another year in college, to become a much better college player. It might just be that the NBA folks aren’t too interested in how much better of a college player he can be.

Smiling Jack

April 12th, 2011
6:40 pm

Maybe a poor decision on his part, maybe not….BUT, it is his decision. Wish him the best. The Dawgs will be just fine. A few years back, a young man of my acquaintence played at South Gwinnett High School with Louis Williams and another kid. Louis took his shot at the NBA out of high school. He has paid the price and today plays for the 76ers. The other lad went to UGA. Never made it. My young friend, Avery Jukes went to Alabama and then to Butler to finish his college basketball career. Avery made a significant contribution to the Butler 2010 championship effort. Avery graduated. Every person doesn’t have the same path, but all have choices to make in their journey. Wish Travis the best in his choice to leave Georgia. His departure gives another young student athlete opportunity to make Georgia proud. Go Dawgs!

Dennis

April 12th, 2011
6:51 pm

opens door for Kevin Ware to sign with UGA…Fox is very good at helping kids develop, especially when he can start with them as freshmen. I think they’ll surprise next year. They’ve got some good players and if they get on board, watch out.

AfghanHound

April 12th, 2011
7:02 pm

Dennis, pls cite examples of kids Fox developed. Not flaming, just found your comments interesting, but without examples.

Legend of Len Barker

April 12th, 2011
7:03 pm

Travis, all those folks telling you to go pro now, they’re not thinking about you. They’re thinking about quick money.

I don’t know the exchange rate of lira, but regardless of what it is, there won’t be nearly as much of it as you believe and it won’t last as long as you think.

Teriyaki Dawg

April 12th, 2011
7:05 pm

Hope there is a Hooters n europe…they love Americans that ride the bench for their local teams

Teriyaki Dawg

April 12th, 2011
7:07 pm

Leslie plays like Leslie at Hooters…besides being fast and slamming it their ain’t much more there

T.J.

April 12th, 2011
7:07 pm

HUGE HUGE mistake Travis.
You can’t shoot a lick and in the NBA your just not good enough.

DelgadoinLex

April 12th, 2011
7:30 pm

He might last a year before he’s back in Atlanta pushing a shopping cart around. Fox should give him a nice chrome-plated one as a going away present.

Jeff

April 12th, 2011
7:35 pm

To collegeballfan at 5:16 p.m…. you posted:

“What if he does? He will still make more money than 95% of the graduates of the University of Georgia.”

Really? so all the attorneys, business owners, surgeons and college professors that I know that graduated from UGA are not making any money? Hmmm…. so all the big-money politicians and Augusta National members and county commission chairmen and entrepreneurs that come from UGA are just “lucky”? Or are they the 5%?

You’re an idiot, collegeballfan…. Georgia offers a VERY diverse choice of majors, and I know kids who graduated with degrees in science, education, business, etc. who are making a KILLING right now.

You must be letting your hatred of Georgia blind you to the real facts…. and that is, in terms of educational institutions, Georgia is one of the better public state universities in America.

Now, as for Travis Leslie…. big mistake for this kid to come out now, because he could definitely use another year of polishing. He’s going to be in for a shock when he doesn’t get picked in the first round, and he’s in for an even bigger shock when he goes to the NBA D-League and finds that there are 250 guys out there EXACTLY LIKE HIM.

By the way, Teriyaki Dawg at 7:07 has the best comment on this blog, hands down!!! Great post, Teriyaki!!!

Poopdawg

April 12th, 2011
7:40 pm

Good luck Travis, fly high.

Dillon

April 12th, 2011
7:44 pm

LOL UGA basketball has one average year and now they’re going to have a losing record. Mark Fox average coach horrible recruiter. UGA bball hasn’t won a tourney game since 1996 LMAO.

Dillon

April 12th, 2011
7:48 pm

BTW Kevin Ware is going to Louisville and Caldwell might not qualify. UGA wont make the tourney for a while and will be lucky to win 10 games next year.

Tee off

April 12th, 2011
7:48 pm

Sad story. Another case of a young guy being influenced by the wrong people. He’s too undersized for the league. Unless you are Seth Curry or JJ Reddick there’s no such thing as a 6′4” shooting guard in the NBA. Ask Ezra Williams. I do think based on his athleticism and heart that he has the capability to hold some strong individual workouts and there’s a small chance that he could get drafted late 2nd round but there’s now way any team is going to give a spot to this guy. There’s 200 Travis Leslie’s available. An undersized athletic guard who can’t handle it, can’t pass and is an okay shooter. I still think he’s got a better chance than Thompkins. Thomp is way too soft. They will crush him in the NBA. Wish they have would have given the Dawgs one more year!

Tech Man

April 12th, 2011
7:52 pm

He will make a lot of money for about 5 years. Then he gets cut and is back in the civilian world. He’s 25 years old and has the rest of his life to work. It’s not long that money runs out and now he is in the real world trying to make a living and survive. An ex-basketball player without a college degree. Good luck the rest of his life.

UGASlobberknocker

April 12th, 2011
8:08 pm

Even if he doesnt make the NBA he will prob make a few hundred thousand dollars a yr in Europe. How is that a bad decision? Im guessing very few graduating seniors are going to make that much.

I for one think he can be a successful role player in the NBA..and that pays about $3 mill a yr..

Lets just hope he is wise with his money. I wish him the best of luck.

UGASlobberknocker

April 12th, 2011
8:11 pm

@Tech Man..How is that different from every person leaving college?..except for the fact he is making far more than them for the first 5 yrs. And who are you to say he wont go back and complete his degree?

Go back to the tickle pile you loser.

boots

April 12th, 2011
8:49 pm

I really know very little about the NBA and would loved to have seen him play his last year for the Dawgs. However, I wish him the best and am proud of his time at UGA. Both he and Thompkins left the program in great shape and were class acts while in Athens. Good luck, guys, and Go Dawgs!

Sloan

April 12th, 2011
9:06 pm

Good luck, Travis. You are going to need it if you plan to make an opening day NBA roster. Don’t get me wrong, I would love it for you if you do. But I think the odds are against it.

BigDawg

April 12th, 2011
9:35 pm

Travis, hope it’s not too late, change your mind for better long-term and overall results! Lot of diff in $$ for first round versus second round. Think about Dominique Wilkins even though he left early, he was developed.

Buzz 2010

April 12th, 2011
9:52 pm

Hey Dawgs, there was a baseball game in Atlanta tonight..Looks like the Jackets
own the Dawgs. Look at it this way at least you weren’t beat by two touchdowns tonight.
Jackets five in a row over Dogs.. we own this atate……………………….

Dogs Smell

April 12th, 2011
9:56 pm

Georgia basketball is back where it belongs ! In the crapper!

AthensDawg

April 12th, 2011
9:57 pm

He needed another year under his belt. He was NBA athletic but not NBA ready but I wish him nothing but the best in the NBA

MS Bully

April 12th, 2011
10:07 pm

Story should have read top 2 scorers off a NIT Team. Bama deserved the NCAA bid more than UGA.