ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will enter the NBA draft.
Coach Mark Fox announced Monday that Caldwell-Pope has hired an agent, ending his college career. Several draft analysts have projected him to go around the middle of the first round.
Caldwell-Pope decided to turn pro after finishing second in the Southeastern Conference in scoring at 18.5 points a game. He also swept the player of the year awards handed out by The Associated Press and the league coaches.
In his final college game, Caldwell-Pope scored a career-high 32 points in a loss to LSU at the SEC tournament, making him the 43rd player in Georgia history to reach 1,000 points.
“I want to thank the University of Georgia for all it has done for me,” Caldwell-Pope said in a statement released through the university. “I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for the love and support.”
School officials said his family had decided not to make him available to comment on the decision.
Caldwell-Pope led the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding, steals, minutes played, as well as field goals, 3-pointers and free throws made. He ranked among the SEC’s leaders in nine of 13 categories.
Also, he was one of just nine players in Division I to reach double-figure scoring in each of his team’s games this past season.
“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.”
Freshman Noel will enter draft: In Lexington, Ky., Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel will enter the NBA draft as he continues recovering from a torn ACL.
The 6-foot-10 freshman is projected to be a lottery pick despite sustaining his season-ending knee injury on Feb. 12. He led the nation with 4.4 blocks per game, and averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Noel also had 50 steals for Kentucky (21-12), earning Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year honors, along with first team all-conference and freshman team selections.
Noel said in statement released by the university that he’s loved his time with the Wildcats but feels he’s “ready to take the next step to the NBA.”
Considered the nation’s top recruit last year, Noel was often compared to Kentucky All-American Anthony Davis, now in the NBA after leading the Wildcats to a national championship as a freshman.
Noel joins Wildcats guard Archie Goodwin in the NBA draft. The two were part of another much-heralded recruiting class that included forward Alex Poythress and 7-foot center Willie Cauley-Stein, but Noel was the only player that consistently lived up to the high expectations for freshmen.
On a Kentucky squad that lacked intensity during parts of a disappointing season by Wildcats’ standards, Noel was often their most active player on the floor. Calipari praised that effort during the season and even after the center made the widely expected decision to leave for the pros.
The Wildcats went 4-5 without Noel, even though Cauley-Stein showed signs of improvement in Noel’s place.
Porter enters NBA draft: In Washington, All-American Otto Porter Jr. is leaving Georgetown after his sophomore season and declaring himself eligible for the NBA draft.
“The toughest part was knowing you’re going to leave a great place like this,” Porter said Monday at a news conference on campus alongside Hoyas coach John Thompson III. “I love this place.”
Porter was the Big East player of the year and finished second in the voting behind Michigan’s Trey Burke for The Associated Press player of the year award.
Porter averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds, both highs for Georgetown.
Len opts for draft: In College Park, Md., Terrapins sophomore center Alex Len decided to enter the NBA draft.
After an uneven freshman season with the Terrapins, the 7-foot-1 player averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in 2012-13. He led the Atlantic Coast Conference with 78 blocked shots.
The Ukraine native is expected to be a top-10 pick in the June 27 draft.
Len averaged of 9.7 points and seven rebounds at Maryland. He started 48 games, including 37 this season.