It's becoming apparent that, at least when it comes to draft position, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made the correct decision.
When the former Georgia star declared for the NBA Draft in April, head coach Mark Fox said it was because Caldwell-Pope heard enough from scouts to make him go pro.
"He obviously got lot of positive feedback," Fox said. "And so we were very diligent, and got as much information as we could directly from NBA people."
The positive feedback has continued since then. Caldwell-Pope has a decent chance of not only being a first-round pick in next week's draft, but going in the lottery, if the various mock drafts are to be believed.
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- The web site NBAdraft.net has Caldwell-Pope going No. 9 to Minnesota.
- So does ESPN insider Chad Ford, on a mock draft posted Tuesday afternoon. (It's on an insider basis on ESPN.)
- KCP is projected to go No. 12 overall to Oklahoma City by DraftExpress.com.
Caldwell-Pope is also the subject of a profile on DraftExpress.com, where you can watch him in a pre-draft workout.
There are other mock drafts, and other indications out there that Caldwell-Pope will be picked relatively high. A couple weeks ago a Portland radio station called, asking if I could come on and talk about Caldwell_Pope because the word was on the Trail Blazers' radar at No. 10. (Had the station not called an hour before they needed me, and I was napping while the baby slept, I would have gone on. But that's neither here nor there.)
Jarvis Hayes was the most recent Georgia player to be picked in the first round, going 10th overall in 2003. Two years ago Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie thought they had a good chance, but they fell to the second round, and each is now out of the league.
But Caldwell-Pope is apparently doing all the right things in pre-draft workouts. And scouts and executives - again, if all the information out there is accurate - agree with what Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said about Caldwell-Pope during the SEC tournament.
"Mark might get mad at me for saying this - and Mark and I have a good relationship - he just looks like a pro to me," Stallings said. "He can jump up and shoot jump-shots off the dribble. He can get to the basket. He shoots it deep. He guards you. There's nothing that kid's not good at on a basketball court, in my opinion," Stallings said. "There are some really great scorers in this league, and some really great rebounders, and some really great defenders. He's one of the few guys in this league who is good at everything that goes on in a basketball court, in my opinion."