ATHENS - For a time, Mark Fox walked on egg shells when it came to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the NBA draft. As his star player debated his future, Fox obviously didn't want to lose him, but also didn't want to appear to be trying too hard to make him stay.
But now that Caldwell-Pope is in the draft, and it looks like he made the right decision, Fox is hoping it could benefit the program in another way.
"Kentavious will be a guy selected high in the first round. He'll have a great night on Thursday. It's a terrific night for Kentavious, his dreams are coming true, we're excited about that for him. It also shows that at Georgia your dreams can come true," Fox said Monday, during an SEC basketball coach summer teleconference.
"I think if you look at early entries into the NBA draft over the last three years, that we're second to only Kentucky in this league in guys leaving and get drafted. It is something that we use to our advantage in recruiting. Because every young guy has a dream to go to the next level, and you have to be able to prove that you can do that."
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Fox was alluding to Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, who left after their junior years in 2011 and were second-round picks. Each is currently a free agent.
Caldwell-Pope, on the other hand, is likely to be a mid-first round pick, and could go in the lottery. Clearly, his departure was a blow to Georgia's hopes for next season, but Fox hopes having a high draft pick will show that he can recruit and develop players for the pros. (Several of Fox's former players at Nevada are also still in the NBA: Javale McGee and Ramon Sessions.)
Fox said that all of the team's recruits will be on campus at some point this summer, meaning none are in danger of not qualifying.
"We don't have everyone here yet. We have one young man who had to finish a class, it wasn't offered yet," Fox said, specifying later that he meant junior college transfer Cameron Forte. "So he's completing that now and we don't anticipate any problems as far as that goes."