According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will declare for the 2013 NBA Draft and leave the University of Georgia. While Caldwell-Pope definitely made huge strides in his game between his freshman and sophomore seasons, he’s making a bad move by not giving himself at least one more year in the college game.
There’s a reason that the NBA has become the inconsistent and ultra-star dominated league that it is, because it’s filled with too many boys and not enough men. All of these one-and-done players and young men that still have the word teen at the end of their age are not ready for the rigors of the NBA, or of life in general.
Their bodies are more brittle and have not yet fully developed, and the added stress of going from a 40-minute game to a 48-minute game, and a 35-40 game schedule to an 82-game schedule takes its toll on their young bodies.
Players like KCP, who are full of all the talent in the world, need time to mature both physically and mentally before they start trying to compete in a professional league, while at the same time trying to learn how to deal with money and all the trappings that come with it.
Caldwell-Pope was a consensus SEC Player of the Year. That makes him a really great player in a league that had a pedestrian season. It doesn’t make him NBA-ready. He needs more time to continue his development both on and off the court.
A 20-year-old Caldwell-Pope will probably be drafted somewhere between the 17th and 20th overall picks in the 2013 NBA Draft, and will more than likely have a long but–in terms of championships and personal achievements–unsuccessful professional career.
Had KCP chosen to stay at Georgia, his matured 22-year-old body and mind would have been dominating enough to raise his draft prospects to within the Top-10, possibly Top-5, and he could have been an immediate impact player.
This isn’t to say that some of the younger players who come out of college early (or right out of high school) can’t be successful, as in some cases–LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin–they are. I’m just not sure I see Caldwell-Pope as having the game that any of those guys did when they entered the NBA.
It’s going to be tough on the Bulldogs to lose their number one guy, but I honestly think it’s going to be tougher on Caldwell-Pope to reach his full potential with this decision.