How Caldwell-Pope's commitment sent Mark Fox airborne

semerson@macon.comJanuary 23, 2012 

ATHENS - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is proving to be the kind of recruit who is worth incurring the wrath of a flight attendant.

Georgia head coach Mark Fox recalled on Monday how he found out Caldwell-Pope was committing. It proved to be a pretty good story.

Fox was on an airplane, headed out to visit another recruit. He was flying commercial, and Caldwell-Pope called while the plane was getting ready to take off.

In fact, it was on the runway.

"He called me, I looked at my phone, and I said I better answer this," Fox said. "So I answered my phone, and this flight attendant was saying: 'You have to hang up your phone.'"

Meanwhile, Caldwell-Pope was on the other end telling Fox: "I've got good news for you."

"Ken, that's great, thanks for calling," Fox said he replied. "And this woman (the flight attendant), she was basically standing over me. I said, Man I've gotta call you back. We were basically airborne at the time, lost connection, didn't finish it."

So why did Fox even have his phone on, right as the plane was getting ready to take off? Was it because he was expecting a call from Caldwell-Pope?

"I'm gonna take the Fifth on that one," Fox said, grinning. "With the FAA, I take the fifth."

Then it took Caldwell-Pope another three or four days to call Fox back and commit. And the recruit had to make the call, because this was during a period where NCAA rules only allowed the coaches one call to a recruit per week. And the staff had already used it that week.

When Caldwell-Pope did call to recruit, Fox was at dinner.

"Left the table," Fox said.

Caldwell-Pope is Fox's marquee recruit so far in three seasons at Georgia. The former McDonalds All-American currently leads the Bulldogs in scoring, and ranks sixth in the SEC with 14.7 points per game. In fact, he's the SEC's top-scoring freshman, not one of Kentucky's annual recruits.

 Kentucky head coach John Calipari, who recruited Caldwell-Pope, called him a "game-changer" and said "Mark has done well for Georgia" by getting the Greenville native.

"You're talking about one of the best young players in our country," Calipari said.

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