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Five SEC Players Selected In The NBA Draft With Nerlens Noel’s Drop Costing Him Millions

NBA DraftKentucky, Florida, Georgia and Missouri were all represented in Thursday’s night draft with Kentucky the only SEC team with two players selected.

Former UK players Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin were both taken in the first round and both were promptly traded.. Noel, projected by many as the first overall pick, was selected sixth overall by New Orleans.  But he won’t be playing for the Pelicans with former Kentucky player Anthony Davis,  Minutes later, he was reportedly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Goodwin was taken by Oklahoma City with the next-to-last pick of the first round and then he was traded to Phoenix.

As the sixth overall pick, Noel is guaranteed just over $5.4 million his first two years in the league.   UNLV forward Anthony Bennett, selected first overall, is guaranteed almost $9.1 million over the same time period. John Calipari has now had 11 one-and-done players at Kentucky.  All have been drafted in the first round.

Former Georgia Bulldog Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the other SEC player selected in the first round.  The Detroit Pistons took Caldwell-Pope with the eighth overall pick.  He becomes the highest Bulldog selection since Dominique Wilkins went third overall back in 1982.

Two SEC players were taken in the second round.  Florida’s Erik Murphy went to the Chicago Bulls with the 49th overall pick.  He will join former Gator Joakim Noah in Chicago.  Murphy becomes the 17th player drafted under Florida coach Billy Donovan. Alex Oriakhi, who spent one year at Missouri after starting his career at Connecticut, was taken by the Phoenix Suns with the 57th overall selection. His former teammate, guard Phil Pressey who left school early to enter the draft, was not taken.  He is reportedly signing a free-agent contract with the Boston Celtics. Pressey was one of several undrafted early entries. B.J. Young and Marshawn Powell of Arkansas were among those not selected.

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Just 2 Ex-SEC Players Projected In NBA Draft 1st Round

nba_logoIf March Madness wasn’t enough of a wake-up call for SEC hoops fans — the league received just three NCAA Tournament bids — tonight’s NBA draft might do the trick.  According to most mock drafts the SEC won’t have much representation in tonight’s first round.

The specialty site has Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel going first overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Former Georgia star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is think projected to land with the Minnesota Timberwolves with the ninth pick.  Done.  That’s it.  Just two first-rounders from the SEC.

The site also has Caldwell-Pope going to the T-Wolves at #9.  But in their mock draft, Noel will fall to the Phoenix Suns at #5.  Again, just two SEC players are listed as first-rounders.  Caldwell-Pope is again the ninth pick.  Noel goes second to the Orlando Magic.

Sports Illustrated’s website?  Noel first to the Cavs.  Caldwell-Pope 13th to the Dallas Mavericks. posts two mock drafts.  And the same two ex-SEC stars are listed in those first-round projections

The same goes for’s mock draft (behind a paywall).

The takeaway: SEC fans likely won’t be camped out in front of the television tonight.  What’s the point?  But with any luck, the SEC’s lack of first-round NBA talent tonight will result in a boom in NBA-level talent playing in the league this winter.

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UGA’s Caldwell-Pope Heading To The NBA

mrsec-breaking-newsOne day, two great players leaving.  Kentucky hoopster Nerlens Noel isn’t the SEC’s only high-profile prospect announcing his intention today to jump to the NBA.  Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — the SEC’s Player of the Year this past season — has also said he’s exiting school early:


“I want to thank the University of Georgia for all it has done for me.  I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for the love and support.”


Caldwell-Pope scored in double-figures in each of Georgia’s 32 games this season.  The sophomore averaged 18.5 points per game for the Bulldogs this season, also pulling down an average of seven rebounds per game.

The NBA website lists Caldwell-Pope as a borderline first-round pick.  That site projected him to a be a lottery-level pick in 2014, if he returned to school (and stayed healthy, and produced, etc).  His stock has been rising on most other draft boards, however, and it’s likely that he’s gotten some pretty positive feedback from NBA sources, likely with the aid of UGA coach Mark Fox.

Caldwell-Pope certainly has the build and the touch to become a successeful shooting guard at the next level.

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Fox Learned Of Parks & Rec Issue Sunday

As we told you earlier today, a police investigation into the Columbus, Georgia Parks and Recreation Department uncovered money that had been spent on two local AAU stars.  Jarvis Jones is now on Georgia’s football team.  Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is now on Georgia’s basketball team.  And both now are having their amateur status questioned.

Bulldog basketball coach Mark Fox told The Athens Banner-Herald that he just learned of the situation yesterday:

“Obviously, we’ll cooperate with the process.  Really can’t speculate on what penalty there would be if there is one.”

Fox won’t speculate, but we will. 

Best case scenario: The two players are forced to repay the money that went toward airline tickets and a cell phone bill.  Jones would have to cough up $828.40.  Caldwell-Pope would have to give back $280.90.

Worst case scenario: Both players have their amateur status stripped and are banned from playing at UGA.

Our expectation: As long as nothing else is uncovered — and don’t think the NCAA won’t focus in on Jones and Caldwell-Pope going forward — both players will likely be given a multi-game suspension and forced to repay the cash. 

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