Caldwell-Pope: 'With me or without me' Georgia will be great next year

semerson@macon.comMarch 14, 2013 

NASHVILLE - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope sat on a padded folding chair in the Georgia locker room. The Georgia star isn't very loquacious in the first place, but with the constant questions about the NBA he clams up even more.

"Right now it's not something I'm worried about right now," he said, minutes after scoring a career-high 32 points.

The question now is whether Caldwell-Pope's career-high will have come in his last career game, at least on the college level.

Caldwell-Pope doesn't have to decide right away, and he can declare for the draft and then later pull out, as long as he hasn't signed with an agent. He has until April 28 to declare, and if he doesn't sign with an agent he technically has until June 17 to withdraw his name. But NCAA rules say players have to announce a week after the Final Four if they're going to stay in school.

Several times after Thursday's game, Caldwell-Pope said he was "just worried about school." He is finishing up his sophomore year at Georgia.

I also asked him whether he had made a decision and had just yet to announce it. That's not the case, he said.

"No decision right now," he said.

Georgia's fate next season - an NCAA tournament contender, or fighting for .500 again - seems tied to Caldwell-Pope's decision. He was named the SEC player of the year by the coaches this week, the first Georgia player to be named the SEC's top player since Dominique Wilkins.

"This team is a great team," Caldwell-Pope said. "With me or without me it will still be a great team because I know they'll always be fighting, they're gonna always help each other, and be confident within the group."

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