published Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Georgia star declares for NBA draft

  • photo
    Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1) and Florida forward Will Yeguete fight for the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Athens, Ga.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the first Georgia Bulldog to be Southeastern Conference basketball player of the year since Dominique Wilkins in 1981, announced Monday that he was forgoing his final two college seasons to enter the NBA draft.

The 6-foot-5 guard from Greenville, Ga., was one of just nine players at the NCAA Division I level to score in double figures in each of his team's games this past season. Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points per contest, which ranked second in the SEC, and also led the Bulldogs in rebounding, steals, minutes played, 3-point field goals and free throws made.

"I want to thank the University of Georgia for all it has done for me," Caldwell-Pope said in a released statement. "I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for the love and support."

His family decided against holding a news conference for the announcement, so he was not available to the media.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.2 points per game as a freshman, but the Bulldogs finished 15-17 in each of his two seasons. In his final game, a 68-63 loss to LSU in the SEC tournament, he scored 32 points to reach 1,000 in his career.

"It's been a pleasure to coach Kentavious and to see him grow as both a player and a person," Bulldogs coach Mark Fox said. "I wish him nothing but success as he pursues his dreams. He will always be a part of the Georgia family."

Caldwell-Pope is the No. 20 overall prospect according to ESPN's Chad Ford, while has him going 17th to Phoenix. The NBA draft is June 27.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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