Anthony Bennett, right, from UNLV shakes hands with NBA Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Bulldogs' Caldwell-Pope taken by Detroit in NBA Draft
ATHENS -- Former Georgia guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Caldwell-Pope was the eighth overall pick of the draft. He is the seventh UGA player to be taken in the first round, the fourth Bulldog to earn lottery-pick status and the first lottery pick since Jarvis Hayes in 2003. He's the highest draft choice from Georgia since Dominique Wilkins was taken third overall by Utah in the 1982 NBA Draft.
"I want to congratulate Kentavious on his selection in the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "Years ago Kentavious shared with me his dream of playing in the NBA. Tonight it came true. We are very excited for him and proud he chose to spend his college years at Georgia."
Caldwell-Pope, a 6-5 guard from Greenville, Ga., became the first Bulldog since Wilkins in 1981 to sweep the major Southeastern Conference Player-of-the-Year awards this past season. He led Georgia and ranked second in the SEC in scoring at 18.5 points per game. In what became his final collegiate game, he scored a career-high 32 points against LSU in the SEC Tournament. That total made him the 43rd player in UGA history to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Caldwell-Pope also led the Bulldogs in rebounding, steals, minutes played, as well as field goals, 3-point field goals and free throws made. He ranked among the SEC's leaders in nine of the 13 categories for which individual stats are kept. In addition, he was one of just nine players in all of NCAA Division I to have scored in double figures in each of his team's games in the 2013 season.
"Detroit is getting a terrific basketball player," Fox said. "He has perfect shooting guard size and the natural instinct to put the ball in the basket. He is a great shooter and scorer but is a far more complete player than most shooters. His ability to rebound is a strength, as is his effectiveness as a defender. Kentavious has great mobility and his speed should be a real asset in the open nature of the NBA game. As most young guys require, he will need some time to learn the NBA game. But he is a worker and I am sure he will keep his great approach to development in the NBA. Kentavious is a very soft spoken young man with a huge heart. He plays the game with great passion and I am certain Pistons fans will love watching him play."
NEW YORK -- Canadian forward Anthony Bennett of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, was taken with the number one overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, setting the tone for a surprising NBA Draft on Thursday.
Bennett, a versatile 6-foot-8 (2.03 m) forward who averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds as a freshman last season, jumped over touted centers Nerlens Noel of Kentucky and Ukrainian Alex Len of Maryland to land as top pick by the Cavs.
Injuries to Noel (knee) and Len (foot) and others clouded the picture in a draft that was without a consensus number one choice, and Bennett himself landed with the 24-58 Cavaliers despite undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of his season.
"I'm just as surprised as everybody else," Bennett told reporters at Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets.
Athletic guard Victor Oladipo of Indiana was taken with the second pick of the first round by the Orland Magic, and the Washington Wizards followed by claiming forward Otto Porter, who played for nearby Georgetown University, third overall.
"Surreal feeling, man,' said Oladipo. "I've been watching this draft pretty much all my life, and to actually be a part of it and to actually be the No. 2 pick in this draft is truly a blessing."
The Charlotte Hornets tabbed Indiana center Cody Zeller with the fourth pick before Len was scooped up by the Phoenix Suns and Noel went to the New Orleans Pelicans with the next two picks.
Trade rumours, however, swirled over the proceedings and several players were expected to land with teams other than the ones that selected them.
Trades had not as yet been made official during the early part of the draft at Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, adding to the suspense.
After the top 10 choices were distributed there was a rush toward international players in the draft.
New Zealander Steven Adams out of the University of Pittsburgh was taken with the 12th pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder, NBA finalists in 2012.
Poised to become just the third Kiwi to play in the NBA, the 7-foot (2.13 m) Adams from Rotorua was a freshman at Pittsburgh and ranked first on the team in rebounds with 6.3 a game and blocks (2.0 average) while averaging 7.2 points.
Three picks later the Milwaukee Bucks claimed forward Giannis Adetokunbo out of Filathlitikos AO of Greece, a 6-9 (2.06 m) forward who at 18 was the youngest player available in the draft.
The Boston Celtics used the 16th pick to take Brazilian Lucas Nogueira, a center from Estudiantes (Spain), and the Atlanta Hawks followed by selecting guard Dennis Schroeder of Phantoms Braunschweig of Germany.
With the 19th pick, the Cavaliers chose Russian guard Sergey Karasev of BC Triumph Lyubertsy, and two choices later the Utah Jazz grabbed Senegalese center Gorgui Dieng of Louisville.
As for the top pick, the powerfully-built Bennett was considered one of the best rounded prospects from this year's draft class, equally adept at scoring from down low as he was shooting from the outside.
"I can contribute at the four, at the three," said the 20-year-old Bennett. "There's things I still need to work on, but I feel like I'm a great team mate, unselfish. I think I can fit in right away."